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Trade Statistics 2005
“While growth in trade will remain satisfactory in 2005 the decelerating trend
is cause for some concern,” said WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy. “To set us on
the right course we need to create more opportunities for trade, particularly in
developing countries, and we need to adjust global trade rules to better meet
the needs of entrepreneurs in the 21st century. The way to achieve this is
through the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda round of global
Trade growth picked up in OECD countries in the second quarter of 2005, but
available information points to significant growth deceleration in intra-Asian
trade and in US imports in the first half of 2005. The steep rise in real oil
prices, to their highest level in more than two decades, has negatively affected
consumer and business confidence in the oil importing countries. The full impact
of the price increases is still to be felt in consumer and business expenditure.
The main statistics show that world merchandise exports increased in nominal
terms by 21 per cent to $8.9 trillion in 2004. In real terms, merchandise
exports rose by 9 per cent in 2004 compared with nearly 5 per cent in 2003.
Trade in commercial services grew in nominal terms by 18 per cent to $2.1
trillion in 2004, which was also stronger than the 14 per cent growth recorded
in the preceding year.
The WTO annual publication International Trade Statistics provides detailed
information on global trade flows by region and product in 2004. The tables and
charts will be available on the WTO website today. The printed version of this
report will be available in December.
Highlights back to top
Key features of the world trade developments in
2004 include the following:
Strong economic growth and rapid trade expansion were
present in all regions in 2004.
The expansion of merchandise trade continued to exceed
merchandise output growth by a large margin. The excess of trade over output
growth was again particularly large for manufactures.
The sharp rise in prices and traded volumes of many
primary commodities has often been a major factor explaining the relative
strength of regions and product groups in international trade flows. The most
prominent illustration of this is, of course, export growth of net oil
exporters. The sharp increase in net oil imports of China, the United States and
India since 2000 had been a major factor behind the expansion of oil trade and
the increase in oil prices.
Sharp price increases for iron and steel, ores,
nonferrous metals and fuels combined with a further depreciation of the US
dollar vis-à-vis the currencies of major European traders led to a double-digit
price increase for world merchandise trade, the largest annual increase since
1995. These four product groups (iron and steel, ores, nonferrous metals and
fuels) recorded export growth in excess of 30 per cent in 2004. Product groups
with the weakest nominal growth in 2004 included agricultural products, textiles
Transportation services expanded by 23 percent to $500
billion, the fastest increase among all services categories. The expansion was
boosted by rising transportation costs and a strong increase in the volume of
Oil exporting regions (the Commonwealth of Independent
States, the Middle East and Africa) increased their merchandise exports much
faster than the global average. North America and Europe are the two regions
whose merchandise export and import growth remained below the global average
growth in 2004.
The merchandise exports of least-developed countries (LDCs)
are estimated to have increased by one third to $62 billion in 2004. Higher
commodity prices and an increase in the volume of crude oil contributed to this
strong performance. Non-oil exporting LDCs recorded lower than average export
growth for the group.
The emergence of China as a major import and export
market for goods and services continued unabated in 2004. The share of China in
the exports and imports of many countries has doubled between 2000 and 2004. By
2004, China had become the world’s third largest merchandise trader.
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chapter of the publication International Trade Statistics:
World Trade Developments in 2004 and Prospects for 2005