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28 April 2009
Historical Data 1900-1960
on international merchandise trade statistics
The purpose of this webpage is to provide access and references to historical merchandise trade data for the years 1900-1960 to the extent that such information is available at the Trade Statistics Branch of the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD).
1. International Trade Statistics 1900-1960, Statistical Office of the United Nations, May 1962 (Draft paper)
This publication is only available as a draft paper and it is indicated that “The data contained in the present paper should be regarded as preliminary, it is requested that no use be made of them until final publication.” Yet, the paper appears to be based on solid research and it is the best source for historical data available to us. Nevertheless this information is provided without assuming any responsibility for the accuracy of the data and only as a special service to interested users which can use this data under their own responsibility and according to their own judgment.
Tables I-XXIII give for total world exports and for the exports and imports of twenty-two individual countries, years 1900-1913, 1921-1938, 1948 and 1950-1960, current values in United States dollars and value indices of: (a) total trade, (b) trade in manufactured goods, and (c) trade in other goods. The twenty-two countries were chosen according to importance in world trade and availability of national trade statistics for the whole period.
The direction of trade can be seen from tables XXIV and XXV which, for the years 1900, 1913, 1928, 1935, 1938, 1948, 1953 and 1959, show world exports by provenance and destination by major areas and destination of exports for the twenty-two countries shown separately.
2. References to publications providing historical data on international merchandise trade statistics
The titles and publication numbers of the balance of payment reviews issued by the League of Nations up and including 1938 are set out below for reference (source: United Nations, Balance of Payments 1939-1945, 1948, page 6):
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