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Trade and Development Report 1991

image of Trade and Development Report 1991

Overall, the trade volume performance of developing countries in 1990 was mixed. There was a considerable deceleration in the growth of exports from South and South-East Asia for the second consecutive year, mainly owing to a sharp slowdown in the exports of the four more in- dustrialized economies of the region. Also for the second consecutive year, Latin America re- corded negligible export growth, particularly for non-energy products. However, results were highly varied among countries: those suffering from continued macroeconomic instability fared far worse than the remainder. In Africa, the volume of exports registered an unusual spurt in 1990, but much of it was due to higher oil exports by the region's few energy-exporting countries. Moreover, in commodity markets increases in export volumes are often associated with softness of prices. In China, after a setback in 1989 exports recovered the momentum characteristic of the 1980s, while imports fell substantially in response to restrictive macroeconomic policies.

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Overview by the Secretary-General of UNCTAD

The world economy is in recession. This has much to do with cyclical developments in several major economies. But a number of exceptional events and sources of rapid change are also affecting the level and pattern of economic activity. These include the recent war, the unification of Germany, and the political and economic restructuring under way in Central and Eastern Europe. Large parts of the world economy are also being influenced by the efforts of Governments to form larger economic spaces, to bring the Uruguay Round to a successful conclusion, and to protect their own trading interests whether or not the Round is successful. The time dimensions of these various forces are vastly different - some may be expected to spend themselves in the short run, while others could have effects for decades to come. But all are important to economic performance whether directly or through the expectations that they are generating.

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