Submitted by Taps Coogan on the 5th of March 2018 to The Sounding Line.
The following infographic, from Visual Capitalist, shows the biggest global importer and exporter of the world’s top 18 traded goods. As Visual Capitalist notes:
“The United States is the biggest importer for 12 of the 18 trade categories, including the largest ones: automobiles and refined petroleum.
Interestingly, the U.S. is also the largest exporter of two of the goods that it is a top importer of: refined petroleum and medical equipment. This is because both are highly specialized categories – the U.S. may import one grade of refined oil at a low cost, while simultaneously exporting a higher or more specialized grade of oil at a premium.
Germany is a top exporter of autos, vehicle parts, and pharmaceuticals, while Switzerland is the number one importer and exporter of gold.
Lastly, China is the biggest exporter for five of the 18 trade categories: computers, broadcasting equipment, telephones, insulated wires, and jewelry, while being the largest importer of crude oil, integrated circuits, and aircraft.”
|Rank||Category of Good||Total Value (2016)||% of Total Global Exports|
|#2||Refined Petroleum||$825 billion||3.0%|
|#3||Integrated Circuits||$804 billion||2.9%|
|#4||Vehicle Parts||$685 billion||2.5%|
|#8||Crude Petroleum||$549 billion||2.0%|
|#10||Broadcasting Equipment||$395 billion||1.4%|
|#12||Petroleum Gas||$254 billion||0.9%|
|#13||Human or Animal Blood||$252 billion||0.9%|
|#15||Delivery Trucks||$216 billion||0.8%|
|#16||Medical Instruments||$216 billion||0.8%|
|#17||Insulated Wires||$200 billion||0.7%|
It’s worth pointing out that, despite the numerous Petro-Dollar theories, neither crude petroleum nor refined petroleum products are the largest category of global trade. This is partially due to the decline in oil prices since 2014, but even with significantly higher oil prices, oil trade remains a minority of the total global goods trade.
Many point to China’s preeminent position in global exports as a reason to believe that its Yuan currency will soon overthrow the US Dollar and become the global reserve currency, but as we have previously noted:
“Reserve currency preference involves much much more than the pricing of oil or other trade goods. Countries decide which currency to hold in reserve based on: the easy, fair, and liquid convertibility of the currency, access to the deepest debt and financial markets denominated in that currency, free and unimpinged capital flows, the issuing country’s legal framework, and the currency’s stability. It is more likely that the 200 plus independent countries involved in exporting, importing, and/or refining oil products prefer to use US dollars as a medium of exchange because the US dollar is preeminent in the much larger financial markets from which oil payments are drawn than the reverse.
Nations are not going to denominate the majority of their reserves in Chinese yuan so long as the Chinese maintain a ‘closed capital account,‘ arbitrarily restricting the conversion of the yuan into other currencies, the flow of capital in and out of China, and pegging the value of the yuan to the US dollar. So long as the financial markets in which reserves are actually used are overwhelmingly denominated in US dollars, the US dollar is likely to remain the world’s preferred reserve currency.”
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