Letter IEDI n. 892–Brazil's new fall in the rankings of largest global exporters and importers
According to the annual report of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in 2017 global trade in goods showed substantial growth when compared to recent years, once more being about 50% above world GDP, reaching historical levels calculated by the WTO since 1990. Trade volume grew 4.7% and world GDP was up 3.0% in 2017.
The main growth factors cited by the WTO were the strong economic activity with higher spending on investment and consumption, mainly in developed economies; the increase in commodity prices (energy, minerals and non-ferrous metals); and the low basis of comparison due to the reduction in trade in 2015 and 2016.
The value of world goods exports increased by 11% in 2017. The item with the most significant increase in foreign sales was fuels and mining products, with an increase of 28%. Exports of agricultural products rose 9%, while exports of manufactured goods grew 8%, in constant dollars.
There were no significant changes in the ranking among the main exporters and importers of goods in 2017. China (with a 7.9% growth rate, accounting for 12.8% of the world total), the USA, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands make up the top 5 exporters. Brazil lost a position in relation to 2016, now ranking 26th, despite a 17.5% increase in exports (in value) compared to the previous year.
In the ranking of importers, the United States (with 7.1% growth, holding 13.4% of the world total), China, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom make up the first 5 places. Here Brazil also fell, from 28th in 2016 to 29th in 2017, but imports grew by 10% from the previous year.
Regarding exports of manufactured products, 80% were concentrated on the top ten exporters of 2017. The European Union accounted for almost 39% of world exports, while China and the United States for 17% and 9% of the world total, respectively. Brazil, with 0.6% of the total, maintained the 30th position in the ranking in 2016 and 2017, although it also recorded growth of almost 10% in the manufacturing industry's exports.
Fuels and minerals accounted for 22% of Brazilian exports in 2017, vs. 18% in 2016, in contrast to the reduction in the share of manufactures, from 39% to 36%. Agricultural products and food remained the main group of exported goods, accounting for 41% of the total (43% in 2016).
Regarding imports, manufacturing remains the largest group accounting for 74% of the world trade in goods in 2017, down from 77% in 2016. There was an increase in the share of fuels and minerals (from 14% in 2016 to 18% in 2017). Among the manufacturing groups, chemical products maintained their 25% participation, and the subgroup of transport equipment and machinery presented a reduction (from 37% to 34%). Agricultural products and food kept their share basically stable, going from 9% in 2016 to 8% in 2017.
Taking manufacturing imports by country, the world ranking remains with the United States, China, Germany and Hong Kong among the world leaders, followed by France, which in 2016 passed the United Kingdom and became the 5th largest importer in the world. Brazil fell one position, from 29th in 2016 to 30th in 2017.
Brazil is highlighted in the WTO report as one of the largest exporters and importers in some markets. In 2017 it remained in 3rd place as the largest exporter of agricultural and food products, with the highest growth rate in exports of automotive products (+32%, followed by Turkey with +22%), going from 12th to 10th. Brazil was the 8th largest exporter of iron and steel, with growth of 37% last year. As an importer, it maintained the 10th place in chemicals in 2017, corresponding to 1.8% of the global market demand.