Global trends: Total merchandise trade

Global trends: Total merchandise trade

In 2022, the value of world merchandise exports increased by 11.4 %. It was the second year of solid growth after two consecutive years of decline during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Global exports amounted to $24.9 trillion, $2.5 trillion higher than in the previous year. However, in the first half of 2023, the exports value decreased by 4.6 per cent, year over year. That year over year decline is nowcast to continue in the third and fourth quarters.

In 2022, almost all developed economies registered increasing exports, with the exceptions of Belarus (-42.7%) and Ukraine (-34.8%).

Among developing economies, considerable decline was recorded in Tuvalu (-84.5 per cent), Saint Kitts and Nevis (-40.5%), as well as in several other small island States.

The North exported more merchandise than the South in 2022: developed economies contributed $13.7 trillion and developing economies $11.2 trillion to the world total.

Trade upswing in all regions

In 2022, merchandise exports and imports increased significantly, by more than 10% in developed economies and by 12% in developing economies in Asia and Oceania. African and American developing economies experienced the highest rise in exports (16.9%).

In terms of imports, developing economies in the Americas registered the highest increase (21.4 per cent) with African developing economies in the second position (18.9%). In developing Asia and Oceania, imports increased much less (10.2 %).

Trade imbalance between developing and developed economies rising

Developing economies registered a considerable increase in their trade surplus in 2022 for the second consecutive year. Their trade balance stood at $692 billion in 2021 and reached $864 billion in 2022.

By contrast, developed economies have recorded a continuously rising merchandise trade deficit in recent years, reaching $1.6 trillion in 2022. The developed world’s imports increased more than their exports.

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