Mapped: The Top Export in Every Country
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Today, exports make up roughly 25% of total global production.
One of the common influences on these exports, unsurprisingly, is oil. In fact, petroleum is the top export across over 50 nations, and along with many other resource-driven materials makes up a sizable share of the global export market. Since 2000, the total value of all exported global trade of goods and services has tripled to $19.5 trillion.
This infographic from HowMuch.net shows the top export in every country by value, according to the most recent global data from 2018.
Top Exports, by Region
Let’s dive into some particular regions, to see how top exports can vary:
In the U.S. petroleum outpaces all other exports, with crude oil accounting for 35% of total petroleum exports. Canada too, lists petroleum at the top.
|Saint Pierre and Quelon||Crustaceans|
With a market valued at $50.7 billion, Mexico’s top export is cars—making it the fourth largest exporter worldwide.
From Egypt to Senegal, Africa has a diverse spectrum of exports. Primarily, these are resource-driven, with the top five exports being petroleum, gold, diamonds, natural gas, and coal.
|Central African Republic||Wood|
|Cote D'Ivoire||Cocoa Beans|
|Dijibouti||Sheep and goats|
|Somalia||Sheep and goats|
|South African Customs Union||Gold|
Meanwhile, Ethiopia’s top export is coffee, shipping nearly $1 billion alone in 2018. Similarly, off the east coast, Madagascar is the world’s largest producer of vanilla.
While petroleum is also a dominant export across many countries in Asia, the region’s export landscape is a lot more tech-focused.
In South Korea, electronic circuits are the largest export. Samsung, headquartered in Seoul, is a major supplier to Apple for multiple electronic components. With one of the highest export ratios in Asia, 40% of South Korea’s economic output is derived from its export market.
Here are the top exports across other Asian countries.
|Br. Indian Ocean Terr.||Fish|
|Hong Kong SAR||Gold|
|South Korea||Electronic circuits|
|State of Palestine||Stones|
In Afghanistan, grapes are the top export, valued at $237 million. Almost one-fifth of Afghanistan’s exports come from the grape industry.
Across the European continent, the automotive industry stands out as a primary driver of exports, with 14 countries having cars or vehicles as their most exported good.
In fact, in 2019, the European Union exported a total of 5.6 million motor vehicles. Of these, 28% were shipped to the U.S. and 16.5% to China.
|Bosnia Herzegovina||Electrical energy|
|TFYR of Macedonia||Reaction initiators|
The Balkan nation of Albania has footwear as its top export. Overall, nearly 80% of the nation’s GDP relies on goods and services exports.
France, on the other hand, has airplanes as its highest export while Italy and Denmark’s highest are drugs. Italy is the top producer of pharmaceuticals in Europe, an industry which employs 66,500 across the country. Globally, it makes up 2.8% of pharmaceutical sales.
Due to its cheap electricity prices, companies have flocked to Iceland to produce aluminum. Iceland’s dams, which generate power from glacial water, produce electricity as much as 30% cheaper than in America.
Latin America & the Caribbean Islands
Like other regions, petroleum stands out as a key export in countries across Latin America.
Take Venezuela. With the largest oil reserves in the world, its oil exports were valued at $90 billion annually ten years ago. Since the pandemic, however, earnings are projected to reach just a fraction of this total—only $2.3 billion this year.
Along with this, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on president Nicolás Maduro and Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA, causing oil exports to slump to their lowest point in nearly 80 years.
|Antigua and Barbuda||Cruise ships|
|British Virgin Islands||Yachts|
|Costa Rica||Medical instruments|
|Falkland Is. (Malvinas)||Molluscs|
|Saint Kitts and Nevis||Transmission apparatus|
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
|Trinidad and Tobago||Petroleum|
|Turks and Caicos Is.||Petroleum|
For Caribbean nations, unsurprisingly, many top exports in this region are linked to tourism.
Cruise ships stood out as a primary export in the Bahamas, while yachts were most significant in the Cayman Islands. However, due to the pandemic, many of these national economies are at heightened risk, with some economies across the region projected to contract 10% in 2020.
Finally, in Oceania, Australia had coal as it’s top export in 2018 (though it has since switched to iron ore in 2019), while New Zealand sends milk abroad.
For many of the smaller islands throughout the Pacific, it can be seen that fish, cruise ships, water, and yachts are key exports.
The Future of Trade
Now, COVID-19 and a host of other factors are changing the way the world trades. Unexpected shocks, trade wars, the carbon footprint, and labor standards are influencing firms to build more resilient supply chains.
According to The Economist, it’s estimated that over the next five years that 16-26% of exported goods production could shift locations.
Charted: The Industries Where Asian Companies are the Strongest
We look at the share of Asian companies in the top 3,000 global firms—measured by market capitalization in 2020—broken down by industry.
The Industries Where Asian Companies are the Strongest
The last 30 years of globalization have benefited Asia greatly.
As a result of deepening trade relations and access to other markets, Asian companies have grown in output and prominence. But which sectors do they excel in?
Using data from McKinsey Global Institute we visualize Asian companies’ share of the top 3,000 global companies, broken down by industry, revenue, and patent share.
A top 3,000 company was defined as having a market capitalization of over $5 billion in 2020.
Ranking Asia’s Strongest Industries
Unsurprisingly, among the top 3,000 companies globally, Asian companies are most prevalent in the manufacturing sector. Specifically, the region’s strength is in industries like consumer electronics, industrial electronics, electric vehicles, and semiconductors.
For many Asian countries, manufacturing is the bulwark of the economy. In Asia’s largest economy, China, the manufacturing sector accounts for nearly one-third of economic output. In Asia’s 13th largest economy, Vietnam, it accounts for almost one-fourth of gross domestic product.
However, manufacturing isn’t all what Asia is known for anymore. Here’s a full list of the top Asian companies’ share in various industries.
|Industry||Asian Share of Top 3,000 Companies||Revenue Share (%)||Patent Share (%)|
Note: The top 3,000 companies list is industry agnostic; companies are classified by sector according to their main business.
Another fast-growing industry where Asian companies are thriving is in the consumer internet services space. Asia is home to half of the world’s internet users, which is driving innovation within the region’s online services industry.
And even though Asia is home to “only” 22% of e-commerce companies within the top 3,000, these firms accounted for 50% of patents granted.
Five Distinct “Asias”
Asia is of course a vast place, and for this reason McKinsey divides the Asia-Pacific region into five distinct “Asias” to get a more granular view. For the most part, they use UN country groupings here, though McKinsey notes it excludes parts of Western Asia (i.e. the Middle East) due to dissimilarities with other Asia-Pacific economies:
- Advanced Asia: High per-capita GDP, urbanization, and connectivity. Includes Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore.
- China: 18% of global GDP and population.
- Emerging Asia: Southeast Asia, strong regional connections and trade. Includes Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and others.
- India: 18% of global population but only 3% of global GDP.
- Frontier Asia: Limited integration, large populations and potential. Includes Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and others.
McKinsey noted that the region is economically integrated—without formal political governance and despite sometimes being at odds with each territorially—with 59% of Asian trade done with other Asian countries.
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