These latest figures come in the official comprehensive compilation for 2007, “International Trade Statistics 2008”. The 6 per cent trade growth is slightly higher than the preliminary assessment of 5.5 per cent announced in April but still a considerable decline from the 2006 figure.

The slowdown “is due to a deceleration of import demand, mainly in the United States, but also in Europe and Japan,” the report says.

“Trade remained strong in most developing countries. Regions such as Africa, the Middle East, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), developing Asia and South and Central America showed sustained growth in their economies in 2007.

“While higher commodity prices helped to improve the financial situation of certain countries, higher energy and food prices also increased inflationary pressures worldwide.”

Higher commodity prices induced a 19 per cent rise in the total value of agricultural exports, a higher increase than for trade in manufactured goods, fuels and mining products.

In value terms, for the first time in five years, commercial services trade rose faster than trade in goods at 18 per cent compared with 15 per cent. This was mainly due to the expanding international supply of many financial, computer, and miscellaneous business, professional and technical services and the increase in the price of transportation.


A comprehensive overview

International Trade Statistics 2008 offers a comprehensive overview of the latest developments in world trade, covering the details of merchandise trade by product and trade in commercial services by category. Each chapter is introduced by a highlights section that identifies the most salient trends in the data and illustrates them with numerous charts and maps. There is also a methodological chapter (Chapter IV Metadata) that explains essential concepts and definitions used in compiling the statistics, and an appendix with detailed data on trade by region up to 2007.

This year’s edition expands the coverage of merchandise trade, including new tables on exports and imports of food and fuels by selected economies. All data used in the publication, as well as additional charts not included in the book, can be downloaded from the WTO web site at stat.wto.org. With these additions, International Trade Statistics 2008 serves as an invaluable reference for researchers, policy makers, and anyone interested in international trade.

This publication and its data is available free on the WTO web site in the following forms:

Printed versions of this publication will be available in November and can be ordered from the online bookshop. Pdf versions of the entire report will also be posted on the WTO web site.

Jargon buster

Metadata: explanatory notes and other technical details for statistical tables (literally, a set of data that describes and gives information about other data).

> More jargon: glossary

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