The UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics 2023 provides a wide range of statistics and indicators relevant to the analysis of international trade, economy, investment, maritime transport, and development overall. In these uncertain times, reliable statistical information becomes even more indispensable for effective policy responses and decisions, aiding countries to recover from different crises and build a more just, inclusive, and sustainable economy.

The UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics and the UNCTADstat Data Centre make internationally comparable data sets available to policymakers, specialists, researchers, officials of national Governments, representatives of international organizations, journalists, academia, the private sector, and experts of non-governmental organizations. In addition, these statistics underpin all UNCTAD activities. Whether for research, policy advice or technical cooperation, UNCTAD needs reliable and internationally comparable trade, financial and macroeconomic data with global coverage, spanning several decades.

The 2022 data show continued growth of the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic for gross domestic product (GDP) and international trade. Growth of real GDP was 3.1 per cent after an unusually high growth of 5.9 per cent in 2021. A strong boost made international merchandise trade exceed by far its pre-pandemic levels already in 2021, with a continued increase in 2022, albeit at a reduced pace. The growth of trade in services was more moderate than in merchandise trade, leading it to exceed pre-pandemic levels only in 2022. This was primarily driven by a strong recovery of international travel. Digitally deliverable services, on the other hand, saw a notable expansion amid the pandemic, in 2021, with a moderate growth of 3 per cent in 2022.

According to UNCTAD’s nowcast, the growth of international trade and economic output is losing momentum in 2023. Real GDP growth is nowcast to slow down to 2.2 per cent, and growth in services trade to 7.0 per cent in 2023. According to the first statistics, international merchandise trade decreased by 4.6 per cent in the first half of 2023, year over year. UNCTAD nowcast indicates a continued decline for the third and fourth quarters of 2023, year on year.

The 2023 nowcasts on global trade and GDP included in this handbook are updated weekly in a dedicated dashboard on UNCTADstat, which allows tracking the development of the nowcast outcomes and their drivers in almost real time; see

This year again, the online edition of the handbook, the e-handbook, incorporates interactive charts and maps at: