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Commodity dependence in comparative perspective

Last weekend at the Eastern Economic Association Meetings in Boston Bilge Erten presented her work, together with José Antonio Ocampo, on the commodities super-cycle (see here). The figure below (click to enlarge) was on her power point (not in the paper) and is from UNCTAD's State of Commodity's Dependence 2012.

Note that much of Sub-Saharan Africa has levels of commodity exports as a share of total exports of between 80 and 100%. South America is not too far. China has only 8%, even if one can arguably suggest that some of the manufactured goods exported by China, which are highly standardized, are commodified. That would also explain why Mexico and some Central American economies depend less on commodities, i.e. the export of manufactured goods from 'maquilas.' South Korea is also low at 12%. A few Asian countries do better than most of Africa and Latin America in this respect. That is, they would be less vulnerable to changes in commodity prices.


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