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Written by Marijn Overvest | Reviewed by Sjoerd Goedhart | Fact Checked by Ruud Emonds | Our editorial policy

Import and Export Statistics 2024 — 30 Key Figures

Key takeaways

  • Imports and exports are affected by inflation and geopolitical tensions that reflect the slowdown in international trade.
  • Green technologies are rising as efforts to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions become more important worldwide.
  • Due to export restrictions, the global food market has taken a hit resulting in food shortages and rising food prices.

Knowing the state of import and export in the world today shows the state of countries within the global economy and its effects on the industry of each nation.

Being able to grasp the import and export situation of various countries is always a benefit to businesses as it gives insight into the country’s economy as well as awareness of international sales potential.

Import And Export Statistical Figures in 2024 That You Should Know

Let’s dive into the key figures in import and export that you should know right now.

1. Global Exports and imports fell by 3.1% and 2.0% in merchandise trade

The G20 (Group of 20) merchandise trade contracted in value terms by the second quarter of 2023. Due to subdued global demand and decreased commodity prices, particularly in energy, exports fell by 3.1% while imports fell by 2.0%.

2. Global Exports and imports are estimated to have grown at 0.2% and minus 0.6% in service trade

While merchant trades fell in the 2nd quarter service trade rose by an estimated 0.2% export and 0.6% import. The strong growth in the 1st quarter of 4.5% in exports and 8.8% in imports gave way for the small yet still welcome increase in the 2nd quarter.

3. Global market for green technologies estimated to reach $2.1 trillion by 2030

The green industries are estimated to boom as countries grow in their effort to fight climate change and cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Green technologies like electric cars, solar and wind energy, green hydrogen, and many more may reach $2.1 trillion in value by 2030.

4. World merchandise trade volume growth of 0.8% in 2023

As of October 2023, the World Trade Organization predicts that the world merchandise trade volume will grow by 9.8% which is 1.7% down according to the April forecast. However, this will be accompanied by GDP growth of 2.6% at market exchange rates.

5. Trade growth to pick up to 3.3% in 2024

The year 2024 should see trade growth rise by 3.3% as the World Trade Organization predicted. The slowdown of trade seems to be broad-based, meaning it involves many countries and various goods, specifically certain manufactures like iron, steel, office and telecom equipment, textiles,  and clothing.

6. 2024 will see stable GDP growth of 2.5%

Gross domestic product (GDP) is growing faster this year than trade. However, GDP will relatively slow down as trade takes over in speed for the incoming year of 2024, according to the World Trade Organization.

This is expected as 2022 had to deal with tighter monetary policy in the United States, the European Union, and elsewhere, the inflation situation in the United States and the EU, and having to deal with the pandemic and the war in Ukraine. All of these caused a bleak outlook on trade this year of 2023.

7. BRICS group ready to expand beyond 18% of global exports

BRICS is a group consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa which currently own 18% of global exports but are planning to expand this soon. BRICS invited Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, Argentina, and the United Arab Emirates to join, striving to counterbalance the G7 group and Western-led organizations.

New BRICS members will join on January 1 2024 with possible additions to follow.

8. G20 represents around 85% of global GDP and more than 75% of global trade but will now expand

G20 is a group consisting of 19 sovereign countries and represents around 85% of global GDP and more than 75% of global trade. However, it will now expand by adding the African Union as a permanent member which will increase their global GDP and global trade.

9. UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s All Rice Price Index rose by 9.8%

After India introduced several export restrictions the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s All Rice Price Index rose by 9.8%. The country provides 40% of global rice exports which is why it made such a significant surge in the All Rice Price Index. India banned non-basmati white rice shipments in July and placed a 20% duty on exports of parboiled rice in late August.

10. Goods Trade Barometer increased to 99.1 from 95.6 in May

According to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Goods Trade Barometer global goods trade rose in the 2nd quarter following 2 quarters of decline.

Because of strong vehicle sales, the Goods Trade Barometer increased by 99.1 from 95.6 in May but the goods trade is still a bit below trend since it still falls short of its 100 baseline.

11. By 2050 1/3rd of the world’s ports may become inoperable

Because of the effects of climate change about 1/3rd of the world’s ports may become inoperable by the year 2050. Panama Canal has already started feeling this effect as it is in limited operation with a 50% increase in waiting time which will continue for another 10 months.

12. The ASEAN digital economy projected to triple to $1 trillion by 2030

The ASEAN Digital Economy Framework Agreement (DEFA) is predicted to naturally triple the size of the ASEAN digital economy to $1 trillion by 2030. However, with the boost of DEFA by 2039 the digital economy could grow to $2 trillion.

13. Manufacturers in the UK and on the continent may face 10% tariffs for new electric vehicles

New Electric vehicles that cross the Channel from January possibly face 10% levies because of the post-Brexit trade deal agreed between Britain and the bloc. However, the German government urged the European Commission to delay the 10% tariffs for new electric vehicles for three years.

14. Powering 10% CAGR these past 3 years are new forms of digital entertainment

By 2025, the Asia-Pacific region’s gross e-commerce market value is anticipated to reach US$3.5 trillion. For the past 3 years, 10% of the Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) has been due to new forms of digital entertainment.

15. The average cost of food in August 2023 was 46% more than it was in August 2018

Low-income nations are at risk of food insecurity due to high commodity costs. In August 2023, the average price of food was 46% higher than in August 2018 while the cost of fertilizer increased by 93% in 2019. Farmers had to decide between applying less fertilizer or growing fewer crops, both of which would result in lower yields and a greater likelihood of world hunger.

16. The African Continental Free Trade Area is poised  to create the world’s biggest free trade area of 1.7 billion people

The African Continental Free Trade Area  (AfCFTA) is concentrating on trading 96 products and operationalizing the agreement through eight nations. It is poised to create the world’s biggest free trade area of 1.7 billion people. Business and consumer spending across  Africa could reach $6.7 trillion by 2030 due to the free trade deal.

17. Elimination of cross-border tariffs on 95% of African traded goods

The AfCFTA, covering 54 out of 55 nations, aims to remove cross-border tariffs on 95% of African traded goods. This will liberalize pan-African trade, promote continental sourcing, and boost coastal nations as potential trade and export hubs.

18. Asian trading partners in US bilateral trade has fallen to 38%

Previously in the year 2022, the share of Asian trading partners in the US bilateral trade was 43% but in the year  2023, it has gone down to 38%. At the same time, the share of China in US bilateral trade fell from 12% to 10%.

19. Intermediate goods share has fallen to 48.5%

For the past three years,  the intermediate goods share remained at an average of 51.0%. However, the first half of 2023 saw the intermediate goods share falling to 48.5%. It is unclear if this was due to geopolitical tensions or the recent global economic slowdown.

20. Throughput in the U.S. rose to 71%

The U.S. trade with Asia picks up again after its slump in the 2nd half of 2022. From 48% it rose to 71% through June. On a global level throughput has stagnated but Chinese ports have continued to grow while shipment through European ports has slowed.

21. Global market for Intellectual Property Services to expand at a CAGR of 12.31% 

The Global market for Intellectual Property Services was assessed at $2,594.78 million last 2021 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.31% throughout the forecast period, reaching a total of $5,207.62 million by 2027.

22. Global supply chain management market to grow at 10.9% CAGR

In 2022, the global supply chain management market was valued at $25.74 billion and is anticipated to reach approximately $72.1 billion by 2032, demonstrating a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.9% over the forecast period of 2023 to 2032.

23. In 3 years, developing countries’ global export share dropped from over 48% to under 33%

From 2018 to 2021 developed countries’ green tech exports surged from $60 billion to $156 billion, while developing nations only saw an increase from $57 billion to $75 billion. Due to this their global export share fell from over 48% to under 33%.

UNCTAD emphasizes the urgency for developing countries to grab this opportunity since early adoption of technology can yield lasting advantages.

24. North American export growth predicted to be strongest at 3.6%

For the October 2023 trade forecast of WTO, it is predicted that most regions will see only moderate export growth except for Africa which will contract by 1.5%. If the forecast rings true then North America is predicted to have the strongest export growth at 3.6%.

25. For 2023, merchandise trade volume could range from -2.8% to +4.7%

If current GDP assumptions remain stable, merchandise trade volume merchandise trade volume could range from -2.8% to +4.7% in 2023. However, the trade growth for the current year may also deviate from this range depending on whether economic conditions change or not.

26. U.S. imports from China dropped by around 25%

China may no longer be the leading exporter to the U.S. in the first half of the year for the first time in 15 years. U.S. imports from China fell by about 25% from January to May, reaching $169 billion, a 19-year low at just 13.4% of total U.S. imports, down 3.3 percentage points from the previous year.

27. Global exports set to grow by 70% by 2030

Even as many countries reduce their interdependence and integration during the post-COVID era, global exports are projected to increase by 70% from 2020 to 2030, reaching $29.7 trillion by 2030, as reported by Standard Chartered.

28. China projected to have a $41.9 trillion Real GDP by 2050

According to a recent Goldman Sachs report, the global economic power balance is expected to shift significantly in the coming decades with China at the top of the projected top economies for 2050 with $41.9 trillion Real GDP.

29. August wholesale inventories reached approximately $901.2 billion

In August, wholesale inventories were estimated at an end-of-month level of $901.2 billion, a 0.1% decrease from July 2023 and a 0.9% decrease from August 2022. The June to July 2023 change remained unchanged at -0.2%.

30. August saw retail inventories totaling approximately $793.4 billion

In August, retail inventories, adjusted for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not price changes, reached $793.4 billion. This was a 1.1% increase from July 2023 and a 4.5% increase from August 2022. The percentage change from June 2023 to July 2023 was revised from an increase of 0.2% to an increase of 0.5%.

Supply Chain

In 2023, the supply chain experienced significant advancements driven by digitalization, sustainability, and resilience. Companies increasingly adopted technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain to enhance operational efficiency and decision-making processes.

According to industry reports, the global supply chain management market was projected to reach a value of $49 Billion by 2028 from 29.4 billion in 2023 at a CAGR of 10.7%

Sustainability emerged as a key focus area in 2023, with companies prioritizing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations. Organizations implemented sustainable practices, including carbon footprint reduction, ethical sourcing, and waste management, to meet the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly products.

Supply chain transparency gained prominence as well, with companies implementing traceability systems and sharing information about product origins, ethical practices, and sustainability efforts. This increased transparency not only satisfied consumer expectations but also helped build trust and brand reputation.

Export Restrictions Affecting Food Price Inflation

The war in Ukraine has had a huge impact on the food market. The effects of export restrictions have worsened the situation, leading to food shortages and rising food prices.

Wheat, soybeans, rice, and other key staples have seen price increases of more than 9%. This is due to a decrease in supply from top exporters such as India, which accounts for almost 33% of exports of rice, Turkey, which accounts for 13.5% of exports of citrus fruits, and Russia, which accounts for 17.5% of the world’s exports of wheat.

The exporters imposing restrictions on products like corn and soybean oil are not among the world’s top 5 exporters, but as these products are constantly in demand, the effect on prices is still substantial. The current import bans are projected to raise soybean oil prices by 14% and corn prices by 6.1%.

Trade Growth

Anticipated import demand is expected to ease due to a slowdown in major economies, each influenced by distinct factors. In Europe, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has resulted in soaring energy prices.

Meanwhile, the United States is witnessing a reduction in interest-sensitive spending across sectors like automobiles, fixed investment, and housing due to a tightening monetary policy.

China is effectively managing COVID-19 outbreaks and production disruptions but faces weak external demand.

Additionally, rising import costs for fertilizer, fuels, and food may potentially trigger food insecurity and financial stress in developing nations.

In the first quarter of 2023, global commercial services trade showed a positive growth of 9% compared to the previous year.

However, this growth rate indicates a slowdown compared to the second quarter of 2022 when commercial services trade grew by 19%.

Among the different categories of commercial services, travel experienced the highest growth rate of 58%, followed by goods-related services and other commercial services, both at 5%. On the other hand, the transport sector saw a decline of 5% in the first quarter of 2023.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the global import and export landscape in 2024 reflects a nuanced interplay of economic, geopolitical, and environmental factors.

While there is a decline in merchandise trade, the growth in service trade, particularly in green technologies, presents opportunities for sustainable development.

Projections for future trade growth, stable GDP, and the expansion of influential groups like BRICS and G20 underscore a dynamic global economic landscape.

Challenges, including climate change affecting ports and a drop in developing countries’ global export share in green technologies, highlight the importance of inclusive and sustainable trade practices.

The diversification of trade partners, the impact of geopolitical events on tariffs, and the rise of technology in trade underscore the need for adaptability and strategic planning.

The war in Ukraine and resulting food price inflation emphasize the interconnectedness of global events, urging international cooperation to address potential disruptions and foster resilient growth in the global economy.

Frequentlyasked questions

What is import?

An import is the process of bringing goods or services into one country from another country for sale or use in the importing country.

What is export?

Exporting refers to the act of sending goods or services produced in one country to another country for sale or use in the foreign market.

What were the trends in merchandise trade in 2023?

Exports fell by 3.1%, and imports fell by 2.0% in merchandise trade, primarily due to subdued global demand and decreased commodity prices, especially in energy.

About the author

My name is Marijn Overvest, I’m the founder of Procurement Tactics. I have a deep passion for procurement, and I’ve upskilled over 200 procurement teams from all over the world. When I’m not working, I love running and cycling.

Marijn Overvest Procurement Tactics