Commodity dependence increased from 93 countries in 2008–2009 to 101 countries in 2018–2019 over the last decade, according to the latest report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The nominal value of world commodity exports reached $4.38 trillion in 2018–2019, a 20 per cent increase compared with 2008–2009, said UNCTAD’s State of Commodity Dependence 2021 report.
Released on Wednesday, the report mentioned that most countries that were dependent on commodities in 2008–2009 remained so in 2018–2019, highlighting the persistence of this phenomenon.
“Commodity dependence makes countries more vulnerable to negative economic shocks,” said UNCTAD’s commodities head, Janvier Nkurunziza. “It can have a negative impact on export and fiscal revenues and adversely affect a country’s economic development.”
UNCTAD considers a country to be commodity export-dependent when more than 60.0 per cent of its total merchandise exports are composed of commodities, according to a press statement of the UN agency.
Moreover, commodity dependence tends to mainly affect developing countries, with 87 of them being considered commodity-dependent in 2018-2019.
Out of the 101 commodity-dependent countries in 2018–2019, 38 relied on agricultural product exports, 32 on mining exports and 31 on fuels.
Commodity export dependence in Africa and Oceania is particularly noteworthy, with more than three-quarters of countries in both regions relying on commodity exports for more than 70 per cent of their total merchandise export revenues, the report said.
Central Asia was the subregion with the highest level of commodity dependence in Asia, with an average share of commodity exports out of merchandise exports higher than 85 per cent in 2018–2019. All five countries in the subregion were considered commodity export-dependent in 2018-2019.
The 2021 issue is the fifth edition of the “UNCTAD State of Commodity Dependence” series. It provides statistical overviews and individual profiles with commodity-related information for all 195 UNCTAD member states.
The statistics on commodity dependence across UNCTAD member states will inform discussions at the Global Commodities Forum scheduled for 13 to 15 September.
The precursor to UNCTAD’s 15th quadrennial conference slated for 3 to 7 October will help frame international policy discussions on commodities, especially on challenges and opportunities for developing countries and particularly commodity-dependent ones.
It will feature four thematic sessions and a high-level roundtable bringing together experts, policymakers, high-level political and institutional representatives from all regions of the world.