Rise in fuel prices during 2005 lifts shares of oil-exporters in world trade while US trade deficit reaches record level

“2005 saw a deceleration of world trade caused by a lower economic activity. At a time of uncertainty, a strong, rules-based multilateral trading system is the best insurance policy for the world economy,” said WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy today on the publication of the WTO annual report 'International Trade Statistics 2006'. “The lingering indecisiveness of the Doha Round further saps the confidence in the multilateral trading system as an engine of economic growth and development. It’s time for political action to bring the Round to a successful conclusion” added Mr. Lamy.

> Press releases
> WTO news archives
> Pascal Lamy’s speeches

> International Trade Statistics 2006



The 110-page report gives a detailed overview of trade developments by region and product in 2005. Information on current trade flows is complemented by a number of tables providing data on longer term trends in world trade.


Key features of world trade developments in 2005 highlighted in the report include:

  • Lower economic activity at the global level caused a deceleration in the expansion of world trade in 2005. Real merchandise exports slowed to 6 per cent (from 9.5 per cent in 2004), but continued to rise significantly faster than global merchandise output.

  • In real terms, trade in manufactured goods was again the most dynamic product sector expanding by 7 per cent while trade in fuels and mining products increased by only 2.5 per cent, the smallest gain of all sectors in 2005. Exports of agricultural products expanded in real terms by 5.5 per cent and — contrary to the two other sectors — faster than in the preceding year. Among the three sectors, agriculture recorded also the largest excess margin of trade over output growth.

  • Price developments exerted a strong influence on global trade patterns in 2005. The further rise in prices of fuels and mining products contrasted with the deceleration in export prices for agricultural products and manufactured goods. Prices of all manufactured goods were held down by the price decline in electronic goods.

  • The impact of the highly divergent price developments by sector in 2005 is such that trade flows in real or volume terms summarized above differed sharply from the nominal trade developments recorded in current dollar values reported below.

  • Largely due to price developments, merchandise trade expanded faster than commercial services trade for the third year in a row. The dollar value of world merchandise exports rose by 13 per cent to $10.16 trillion and commercial services exports rose by 10 per cent to $2.41 trillion in 2005.

  • Among the world’s fifty leading merchandise exporters, the major suppliers of fuels and mining products increased their merchandise exports in dollar terms by at least one third: Russian Federation (33 per cent), Saudi Arabia (44 per cent), Iran (35 per cent), Venezuela (43 per cent), Algeria (47 per cent), Kuwait (57 per cent) and Nigeria (36 per cent). Among the major traders exporting manufactured goods, China stands out with an increase of its merchandise exports of 28 per cent in 2005.

  • Among the leading commercial services traders, the most dynamic exporters with a value increase of 15 per cent or more in 2005 include China, India, Luxembourg, the Russian Federation, Poland, Mexico, Brazil and Hungary.

  • The higher fuels prices contributed to changes in regional trade flows, boosting oil exporting economies and stimulating their import growth of goods and services. The Middle East, Africa, the Commonwealth of Independent States and South and Central America, which export primarily fuels and other mining products, recorded a merchandise export growth between 35 and 25 per cent in 2005. Imports into these four regions also rose much faster than the global average (between 25 and 17 per cent).

  • World exports of fuels rose by 41 per cent to $1.4 trillion in 2005. Its share in world merchandise exports reached 13.8 per cent, its highest level in almost two decades.

  • Among the manufactured goods, iron and steel and chemicals showed an above average trade growth in dollar values while automotive products, clothing and textiles experienced a below average growth in 2005.

  • The phase-out of the WTO Agreement on Textiles and Clothing had a major impact on trade flows in these product groups in 2005. China, India and Pakistan enhanced their role in global exports of textiles and clothing while suppliers from South and Central America and Africa lost market shares.

  • Oil-exporting economies and regions further increased their trade surplus while the United States’ trade deficit rose to $793 billion equivalent to nearly 8 per cent of world merchandise exports.

Order paper version from online bookshop


> Download all tables and charts (MS Excel format)
> See selected tables, by subject

> First chapter of the publication International Trade Statistics: World Trade Developments in 2005



> Problems viewing this page?
Please contact webmaster@wto.org giving details of the operating system and web browser you are using.