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Merchandise exports from developed countries fell last year

There was a fall in the merchandise exports of developed nations of 2.75% in 2012, according to figures just released by UNCTAD. However, this was offset by a rise of 3.6% amongst developing countries, although much of that increase occurred in petroleum and gas exporting countries. In fact, developing countries that are primarily exporters of commodities other than fuels saw their exports fall by 2.54%.

Growth in merchandise exports ground to a halt last year

Overall, global merchandise exports grew by only 0.2% in value during 2012, after experiencing significant increases in each of the previous two years. In 2010 merchandise exports grew by 21.9% and in 2011 registered further growth of 19.63%. This compares with a fall of 22.27% in 2009, which was the year that global trade received its biggest hit from the worldwide financial crisis.

It is perhaps not surprising that merchandise exports are static given the austerity measures in place in most of the major western economies, which is having a knock-on effect worldwide. With consumers watching their spending and firms reluctant to expand, demand for imported goods has been depressed.

One highlight of the latest figures is that developing countries have continued a trend in which their share of world trade has improved year by year. At the end of 2012, they accounted for 44.4% of the global export market, which compares with a figure of only 36.2% in 2005.

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Posted in Development, International Trade, UNCTAD

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