103 countries depend on commodities: UNCTAD

A total of 103 countries (member states, correctly) depend on commodities, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

A country is commodity dependent when it derives at least 60% of its merchandise export earnings from the commodity sector.

Trade data shows that approximately 53% of all UNCTAD member states were dependent on commodities in 2018-2019.

According to the State of Commodity Dependence 2021, commodity dependence is more widespread among developing countries.

In 2018-2019, 64% of developing countries were dependent on commodities compared to 53% of transition economies and 13% of developed countries.

Thus, although dependence on commodities is found in all three groups of countries, the problem is primarily a phenomenon of developing countries and, to some extent, of economies in transition.

Furthermore, the prevalence of commodity dependence does not appear to improve over time.

In any case, dependence on commodities increases over time.

In 2008-2009, 60% of developing countries were dependent on commodities, 4 percentage points less than in 2018-2019.

During the same period, dependence on commodities also increased in transition economies from 47% to 53% and in developed countries from 10.5% to 13%, although the absolute number of countries dependent on commodities it is much lower than in developing countries.


Dependence on commodities is not simply about being dependent or not.

The extent to which a country depends on commodities is important.

According to UNCTAD, a country that earns more than 80% of its income from merchandise exports from the commodity sector is more exposed to the challenges of commodity dependence than one that earns 60%.


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