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Nominal merchandise & commercial services trade developments in 2006 - WTO

Apr '07
World merchandise exports in dollar value terms were strongly affected by price developments in 2006. Price developments differed widely by sector in the course of the year.

According to the IMF commodity price indices, the world export prices of minerals and non-ferrous metals increased by 56%, those of fuels by 20% and those of food and agricultural raw materials by 10%. Export prices of manufactured goods are estimated to have increased by not more than 3%.

Price changes for manufactured goods remained less strong than those for primary products for the third consecutive year. An important element in the moderate price trends for manufactured goods was the continued decline in prices for electronic goods, which accounted for more than one in six dollars of world exports of manufactured goods in 2005.

These shifts in relative prices are explained largely by the different regional export unit values (prices) which ranged from 4% to 5% for Asia and Europe to about 18% to 20% for exports of South and Central America, Africa, the Middle East and the CIS.

Information on price trends for world commercial services trade are not available. However, the price deflators for US services exports and imports increased between 3% and 4% in 2006, somewhat less rapidly than in the preceding year.

Overall exchange rate developments in 2006 only had a moderate impact on the dollar price level of internationally traded goods. Contrary to developments between 2002 and 2004, the average annual exchange rate change between the US dollar and the euro and the British pound had been rather moderate as divergent developments in the course of 2005 and 2006 balanced each other.

While a weaker yen might have contributed to weaker dollar export prices of Japan, the appreciation of the Canadian dollar and the currencies of several Asian traders had the opposite effect.

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