What is each country known for in terms of trade?
Some are commodity havens, some develop disruptive and innovative technologies, some are leaders in chemical production – but have you ever thought about what each nation is well-known for in terms of trade?
CMC Markets has carried out research into some of the largest producers and exporters across the world to see which countries are excelling in gold, electronics, pharmaceuticals and more popularly traded goods.
What are the top exports by category?
When it comes to trade, some of the most popular global exports include:
- Fuel (such as petroleum and natural gas)
- Metals (such as gold and silver)
- Minerals (such as iron ore and diamonds)
- Food and agricultural produce (such as wheat and sugar)
- Transportation (such as cars and airplanes)
- Electronics (such as mobile phones and gaming consoles)
- Textiles (such as cotton and lumber)
- Chemicals (such as medicines and pharmaceuticals)
These vary across each nation due to many factors, including location, climate, and level of economic development.
Are there any themes across regions?
Europe is a mixed bag when it comes to trade. According to data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC), in 2020, Germany was the biggest exporter of chemical products and transportation with a combined trade value of $452bn; Russia was the biggest exporter of mineral fuels and oils with a trade value of $161bn, and Spain was a major player in the food, beverage and tobacco industries. The UK has a diverse economy, with the services sector accounting for 80% of the country’s GDP, according to the ONS. It’s one of the biggest exporters of aircraft, pharmaceuticals and gas turbines, and London is one of the world’s major financial hubs for banking and insurance companies.
The world’s largest economy in terms of nominal gross domestic product (GDP) belongs to the US, according to the International Monetary Fund. Six businesses have surpassed the trillion-dollar valuation mark, including Apple, Amazon and Alphabet, which are considered some of the most important tech giants across the world. The country is also one of the biggest producers and exporters of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil. Canada also ranks relatively high on the list of global oil producers, with a rough trade value of $47.2bn. It’s also a leader in metals and minerals production, operating some of the biggest gold mining businesses in the world such as Barrick Gold, Newmont and Kinross Gold.
Given the diverse climate of Asia and Oceania, it may not come as a surprise that they are rich in raw materials. In 2020, India was the largest producer of rice with a trade value of $8.21bn, as well as other agricultural commodities like sugar, wheat and cotton, and precious minerals such as diamonds. Australia was the largest exporter of iron ore and coal briquettes with a combined trade value of $116bn. Aside from this, China is the world’s biggest overall exporter, according to Statista, with an average trade value of $3.36tn, leading in textiles, electronics, plastics and rubbers, and machinery. It overtook the US as the primary manufacturing hub in 2010 and has remained in this position ever since.
CMC Markets’ chief market analyst Michael Hewson commented on the findings: “the results are consistent with most people’s perceptions of each country. When you think of the UK, you think of the City of London – banking and trading floors; when you think of China, you think of tech giants, e-commerce, electronics; and when you think of Russia, you think of fuel. But some people may not expect relatively under the radar countries to be so prevalent in the world’s exports. For example, countries like South Africa for precious metals, Argentina for soybeans, or Ivory Coast for cocoa are just as essential to the global economy as the wealthiest nations.”
Explore CMC’s interactive trade map for further information and statistics.
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