All of the World’s Exports by Country, in One Chart
In 2022, the total export value of global goods reached nearly $25 trillion.
With the evolution of international trade, the effects of globalization, and progress in technology, global trade has increased by around 300% over the last 20 years.
This visualization by Truman Du uses data from the World Trade Organization (WTO) to chart the world’s top exporters by country.
China is Still the “World’s Factory”
The world’s largest 11 exporters shipped out $12.8 trillion of goods in 2022, more than the rest of the world combined ($12.1 trillion).
The list is headed by China, with $3.6 trillion or 14% of total exports. The country has been the largest exporter of goods in the world since 2009.
|Top 11||Country||Exports (USD)|
|6||🇰🇷 South Korea||$683.6B|
|10||🇭🇰 Hong Kong||$609.9B|
|11||🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates||$598.5B|
In 2022, the top products exported from China by value were phones (including smartphones), computers, optical readers, integrated circuits, solar power diodes, and semiconductors.
Two of China’s primary trading partners are neighboring countries Japan and South Korea.
Mexico Surpasses China as America’s Largest Trading Partner
China has built up significant trade relations with the European Union and the United States, two of the world’s largest markets for goods.
However, recent trade tensions have led to China losing its status as the United States’ biggest trading partner in 2023.
Mexico has now overtaken China as the largest seller to the United States. This shift in trade dynamics is part of a broader effort by the U.S. to import goods from closer to home and reduce its dependence on geopolitical rivals.
The U.S. itself is the world’s second largest goods exporter, with over $2 trillion annually.
Canada was the largest purchaser of U.S. exports in 2022, accounting for 17% of total exports, followed by Mexico, China, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
The top exports of the United States are refined petroleum, petroleum gas, crude petroleum, cars, and integrated circuits.
The Regional View of Exports by Country
From a regional perspective, it’s clear Asia dominates the trading market with over 36% of the total exports, followed by Europe with 34%.
While Asian, European, and North American countries have manufactured and technology products among their main exports, African and South American countries mostly export commodities such as oil, gold, diamonds, cocoa, timber, and precious metals.
A New Era of Deglobalization?
International trade grew immensely at the beginning of the 21st century, from $15.6 trillion in 2001 to $40.7 trillion in 2008.
Since then, protectionist trade policies such as taxes on foreign goods and import quotas have increased by 663%. Similarly, global trade as a percent of GDP has also stalled out, peaking in 2008 and going sideways ever since.
Despite many countries reducing their interdependence and integration in the post-COVID era, global exports are still set to grow by 70% between 2020 and 2030, reaching $29.7 trillion by 2030, according to Standard Chartered.
This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.
Recession Risk: Which Sectors are Least Vulnerable?
We show the sectors with the lowest exposure to recession risk—and the factors that drive their performance.
Recession Risk: Which Sectors are Least Vulnerable?
In the context of a potential recession, some sectors may be in better shape than others.
They share several fundamental qualities, including:
- Less cyclical exposure
- Lower rate sensitivity
- Higher cash levels
- Lower capital expenditures
With this in mind, the above chart looks at the sectors most resilient to recession risk and rising costs, using data from Allianz Trade.
Recession Risk, by Sector
As slower growth and rising rates put pressure on corporate margins and the cost of capital, we can see in the table below that this has impacted some sectors more than others in the last year:
|Sector||Margin (p.p. change)
|🏡 Household Equipment||-0.9|
|🚗 Automotive Manufacturers||-1.1|
|🏭 Machinery & Equipment||-1.1|
|🖥️ Computers & Telecom||-2.0|
*Percentage point changes 2021- 2022.
Generally speaking, the retail sector has been shielded from recession risk and higher prices. In 2023, accelerated consumer spending and a strong labor market has supported retail sales, which have trended higher since 2021. Consumer spending makes up roughly two-thirds of the U.S. economy.
Sectors including chemicals and pharmaceuticals have traditionally been more resistant to market turbulence, but have fared worse than others more recently.
In theory, sectors including construction, metals, and automotives are often rate-sensitive and have high capital expenditures. Yet, what we have seen in the last year is that many of these sectors have been able to withstand margin pressures fairly well in spite of tightening credit conditions as seen in the table above.
What to Watch: Corporate Margins in Perspective
One salient feature of the current market environment is that corporate profit margins have approached historic highs.
As the above chart shows, after-tax profit margins for non-financial corporations hovered over 14% in 2022, the highest post-WWII. In fact, this trend has been increasing over the past two decades.
According to a recent paper, firms have used their market power to increase prices. As a result, this offset margin pressures, even as sales volume declined.
Overall, we can see that corporate profit margins are higher than pre-pandemic levels. Sectors focused on essential goods to the consumer were able to make price hikes as consumers purchased familiar brands and products.
Adding to stronger margins were demand shocks that stemmed from supply chain disruptions. The auto sector, for example, saw companies raise prices without the fear of diminishing market share. All of these factors have likely built up a buffer to help reduce future recession risk.
Sector Fundamentals Looking Ahead
How are corporate metrics looking in 2023?
In the first quarter of 2023, S&P 500 earnings fell almost 4%. It was the second consecutive quarter of declining earnings for the index. Despite slower growth, the S&P 500 is up roughly 15% from lows seen in October.
Yet according to an April survey from the Bank of America, global fund managers are overwhelmingly bearish, highlighting contradictions in the market.
For health care and utilities sectors, the vast majority of companies in the index are beating revenue estimates in 2023. Over the last 30 years, these defensive sectors have also tended to outperform other sectors during a downturn, along with consumer staples. Investors seek them out due to their strong balance sheets and profitability during market stress.
|S&P 500 Sector||Percent of Companies With Revenues Above Estimates (Q1 2023)|
|Real Estate ||81%|
Cyclical sectors, such as financials and industrials tend to perform worse. We can see this today with turmoil in the banking system, as bank stocks remain sensitive to interest rate hikes. Making matters worse, the spillover from rising rates may still take time to materialize.
Defensive sectors like health care, staples, and utilities could be less vulnerable to recession risk. Lower correlation to economic cycles, lower rate-sensitivity, higher cash buffers, and lower capital expenditures are all key factors that support their resilience.
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