The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) has said that the total merchandise trade volume of the Arab countries has increased to $1.848 trillion in 2021, compared with $1.501 trillion in 2020, a growth of 23.1%.
In its latest report, the AMF pointed out the effects of recovery was visible, particularly on the foreign trade sector since the end of 2020, despite the continuing repercussions of other crises, such as the high cost of international shipping and the slowdown in supply chains.
The report said that total Arab exports increased to $1.038 trillion in 2021, compared with $755.6 billion in 2020, achieving an increase of 37.4%.
The report also said that the performance of total merchandise imports increased by 8.6%, jumping from $746.3 billion in 2020 to $810.4 billion in 2021. However, their percentage in global imports decreased to 3.7% in 2021 compared to 4.2% in 2020.
The AMF further noted that fuel and minerals accounted for the largest share in total Arab exports, reaching about 62.7% in 2021, compared with 55% in 2020, with a decrease in favour of other sectors. Agricultural commodities accounted for 7.1% of total exports.
Regarding imports, the data indicated that manufacturing sector held the largest proportion of imports at a rate of 60.2%, while agricultural commodities recorded 20.1% of total imports, and fuel and minerals stood at 14.4% in 2021.
Intra-Arab Commodity Trade
The report said that intra-Arab commodity trade also witnessed an improvement in 2021, due to the relative easing of COVID-19 related restrictions and the spurt in oil and commodity prices in global markets, as well as the start of recovery in economic activities and its impact on increasing commodity production levels in Arab countries.
According to the report, imports from Asian countries constituted the highest source of Arab imports and accounted for the largest share by 33.6%, compared with 30.4% in the previous year.
China accounted for 16.1% and the rest of Asia by 9.6% of total Arab imports, while imports from the US increased to 10.7% compared to 6.1% in the previous year, the report said.