World trade leaders

ranking 08/10/2018

The world trade is currently undergoing a transformation: Russia, China, Turkey start to work out the plans to abandon the dollar in calculations among themselves; the U.S. trade sanctions are applied not only to Russia and a number of "unfriendly" states, but also to the closest allies; the duties war between USA and China risks to undermine the impressive dynamics of global cooperation.

According to 2017 results, international trade in goods and services amounted to USD 35.8 trn, 10.6% higher than in 2016.

China, USA and Germany are leaders by foreign trade turnover, controlling almost 30% of world trade. Meanwhile USA has the world's largest negative balance of trade (excess of imports over exports) – minus USD 862 bln (see Table 1). In this case, it becomes clear the U.S. attempts to correct the current disadvantaged position of the country. In this regard, the following point is remarkable: although Russia significantly lags behind the top three countries in terms of foreign trade turnover, it has the world's third-largest positive balance of trade: USD 116 bln, second only to China with USD 421 bln and Germany with USD 281 bln.

Table 1. Top-20 countries by foreign trade volume in 2017
Country Foreign trade turnover, bln USD Share in global trade,% Export, bln USD Share in world export, % Import, bln USD Share in world import, % Balance of trade, bln USD
  GLOBAL 35754 100 17730 100 18024 100,0 -294
1 China 4105 11,5 2263 12,8 1842 10,2 421
2 USA 3956 11,1 1547 8,7 2409 13,4 -862
3 Germany 2615 7,3 1448 8,2 1167 6,5 281
4 Japan 1370 3,8 698 3,9 672 3,7 26
5 Netherlands 1226 3,4 652 3,7 574 3,2 78
6 France 1160 3,2 535 3,0 625 3,5 -90
7 Hong Kong 1140 3,2 550 3,1 590 3,3 -40
8 Great Britain 1089 3,0 445 2,5 644 3,6 -199
9 Republic of Korea 1052 2,9 574 3,2 478 2,7 96
10 Italy 959 2,7 506 2,9 453 2,5 53
11 Canada 863 2,4 421 2,4 442 2,5 -21
12 Mexico 841 2,4 409 2,3 432 2,4 -23
13 Belgium 833 2,3 430 2,4 403 2,2 27
14 India 745 2,1 298 1,7 447 2,5 -149
15 Singapore 701 2,0 373 2,1 328 1,8 45
16 Spain 672 1,9 321 1,8 351 1,9 -30
17 UAE 628 1,8 360 2,0 268 1,5 92
18 Russia 592 1,7 354 2,0 238 1,3 116
17 Taiwan 576 1,6 317 1,8 259 1,4 58
20 Switzerland 569 1,6 300 1,7 269 1,5 31

In 2017 the Russian foreign trade volume amounted to USD 592 bln or 1,7% of the global turnover. Thus, Russia takes the 18th place. USD 354 bln of the amount (2% of world export) were exported, USD 238 bln (1,3% of world import) were imported.

According to the latest data published by the Federal Customs Service, the positive growth dynamics of export and import is observed in January-July 2018 compared with the same period in 2017. In relative terms, this is 28.5% and 11%, respectively. By the end of 2018, upon the maintaining of momentum in the second half of the year (taking into account the devaluation of ruble, the dynamics may be slightly lower), the volume of foreign trade turnover will increase to USD 719 bln, including export – 454 bln, import – 264 bln, positive balance of trade - USD 190 bln (Picture 1).

Picture 1. Dynamics of Russian foreign trade, bln USD  Picture 1. Dynamics of Russian foreign trade, bln USD

According to the data collected by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the top value of the Russian foreign trade was recorded in 2012 and 2013 – USD 863 bln. In contemporary landscape, this would put our country in the 11th place in the world. Under otherwise equal conditions, in case we extrapolate the current rate of trade development to 2019, we can expect USD 877 bln in the next year. This will exceed the previous historical record and bring Russia closer to the Top-10 leaders. In that way, the previously lost positions will be fully restored.