2011 world economic stats record 12.2% annual increase of commodity price volatility in decade: UNCTAD

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has December 19, 2011 published its Handbook of Statistics 2011, a wide-ranging survey of numerical information on international trade flows, commodity prices, maritime transport, and the economic performances of developing countries.

According to the UN trade agency, the Handbook shows that commodity price indices displayed record volatility from 2001 through 2010, climbing at an annual average rate of 12.2% per year, “a sharp change from the two preceding decades, when they increased by only 0.5% per year (1981 to 1990) and fell by 1.3% per year (1991 through 2000).”

“The price of rice, the most important staple food for a large part of the world’s population, showed the sharpest increases between 2001 and 2010, climbing by an average of 15% per year,” UNCTAD said in a press release copied to ghanabusinessnews.com.

Figures posted in the publication for 2009–2010 also show that developing countries account for large proportions of world exports of a number of commodities and products, such as “fixed vegetable fat and oil (88.7% of world exports); copper ores and concentrates (79.1%); female clothing, knitted and crocheted (75.9%); crude petroleum and bituminous oil (71.4%); and woven cotton fabrics (71.3%).”

UNCTAD said large-scale trends revealed by the publication include volatile prices for commodities since the turn of the Millennium and long-term economic gains by several developing nations – from 1981 to 2010.

For example, it indicated that China’s share of world exports in goods and services grew by over 8 percentage points, and its share of global gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by nearly 7 percentage points.

Over the same period, the Handbook revealed that the United States’ share of world exports in goods declined by 3.5 percentage points and its portion of global GDP fell by nearly 2.5 percentage points.

The countries of the European Union saw a decline in services export share of 8 percentage points for the period.

These statistics provide evidence of the growing prominence of developing economies in the global economy, said UNCTAD.

By Ekow Quandzie

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