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Mapped: The World’s Largest Exporters in 2018

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The World's Largest Exporters in 2018

Visualizing the World’s Largest Exporters in 2018

Trillions of dollars of goods get traded around the world every year.

In 2018, total global exports exceeded $19 trillion, including specialized goods falling into almost every possible category imaginable.

Whether you’re talking about German cars, Bangladeshi t-shirts, Saudi oil, or Swiss milk chocolate, just about anything is available on the world market for a price – and the world’s largest exporting countries aim to take advantage.

Ranked: The 15 Largest Exporters in 2018

Today’s visualization comes to us from HowMuch.net, and it resizes countries based on their most recent export numbers, as per data from the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Let’s take a look at how the field breaks down:

RankCountryExports (2018, $M)Share of Global Total
#1๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China$2,487,04512.8%
#2๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United States$1,664,0858.6%
#3๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany$1,560,8168.0%
#4๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan$738,4033.8%
#5๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands$722,6683.7%
#6๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท Korea, Rep.$604,8603.1%
#7๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France$581,8163.0%
#8๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Hong Kong, China$569,2412.9%
#9๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy$546,6432.8%
#10๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United Kingdom$485,7112.5%
#11๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Belgium$466,7242.4%
#12๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ Mexico$450,5722.3%
#13๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada$449,8452.3%
#14๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ Russia$444,0082.3%
#15๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Singapore$412,6292.1%

Leading the list of the world’s largest exporters is China, with a whopping $2.5 trillion of goods sent abroad in 2018. If you add in Hong Kong’s numbers, China holds 15.7% of the global export total โ€” roughly equal to Japan, Netherlands, South Korea, France, and Singapore combined.

Coming next on the list is the U.S., which exports about $1.7 trillion of goods each year. After that comes Germany, which is the only other country to export over $1 trillion of goods per year.

Comparing U.S. and Chinese Exports

What does China export, and how does that compare to a more developed economy such as the United States?

Using data from MIT’s Observatory of Economic Complexity, we can see the broad breakdown of exports in both countries:

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China (Exports)Share ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S. (Exports)Share
Machines48.5%Machines22.1%
Textiles9.9%Transportation14.9%
Metals7.1%Chemical Products13.7%
Chemical Products4.9%Mineral Products11.4%
Plastics and Rubbers4.0%Instruments6.8%
Instruments3.2%Plastics and Rubbers5.5%
Transportation3.2%Vegetable Products5.1%
Footwear and Headwear2.6%Metals4.8%
Stone and Glass1.7%Foodstuffs3.3%
Mineral Products1.3%Precious Metals3.1%
Animal Hides1.2%Animal Products2.2%
Other/Misc12.4%Paper Goods2.1%
Textiles1.7%
Other/Misc3.3%

On first glance, it’s clear that China’s exports are reliant on one heavy-hitting category (Machines) to drive a whopping 48.5% of total export value. Within that broad category of machines, there are many narrower categories, including:

  • Broadcasting equipment (9.6% of total exports)
  • Computers (6.1%)
  • Office machine parts (3.8%)
  • Integrated circuits (3.3%)
  • Telephones (2.6%)
  • Electrical transformers (1.3%)
  • Semiconductor devices (1.2%)
  • Video displays (1.1%)

For the United States, machines are still important at 22.1% of exports, but three other broad categories also surpass the 10% mark: transportation, chemical products, and mineral products. This means the U.S. is generally more diversified in its major exports.

For more, see the largest export of each state on this map.

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Business

Flying High: The Top Ten Airline Routes by Revenue

This visualization tracks the high-value routes that generate the most revenue for airlines โ€“ primarily links between the world’s financial centers

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Flying High: The Top 10 Airline Routes by Revenue

The airline industry is a tough business. Profit margins are narrow, airplanes are expensive to run and maintain, and government regulation and taxation can be onerous and unpredictable.

In addition, demand can stall by the outbreak of disease, recession, war, or terrorism. So when a company has a winning airline route, it makes all the difference to a company’s bottom line.

Todayโ€™s visualization uses data from OAG Aviation Worldwide, which tracked the airline routes that generated the most revenue from April 2018 to March 2019.

Top 10 Highest Revenue Routes by Airline

North American routes dominate the global rankings. However, it is the connections from the U.S Northeast and Europe that generate the most revenue and often the most delays.

Only one route breaks the billion dollar barrier: British Airways’ service between London Heathrow Airport (LHR) and New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK).

AirlineAirport PairCountriesTotal Revenue US$ 2018/19
British AirwaysJFK-LHR๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง$1,159,126,794
Qantas AirlinesMEL-SYD๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ$849,260,322
EmiratesLHR-DXB๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช$796,201,645
Singapore AirlinesLHR-SIN๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ$735,597,614
United AirlinesSFO-EWR๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ$689,371,368
American AirlinesLAX-JFK๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ$661,739,368
Qatar AirwaysLHR-DOH๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ถ๐Ÿ‡ฆ$639,122,609
Cathay Pacific AirwaysHKG-LHR๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง$604,595,063
Singapore AirlinesSYD-SIN๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ$549,711,946
Air CanadaYVR-YYZ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ$541,122,509

Air Canadaโ€™s route between Vancouver and Toronto bottoms out the list with $541 million of revenue in 2019. Low population density, high infrastructure costs, and an aviation industry that is essentially an oligopoly, are all factors driving up ticket costs in Canada.

North America, Top 10 Highest Revenue Routes by Airline

Here’s a look at only the top-grossing routes connected to North America, including the prior ones that made the global list.

AirlineAirport PairCountriesTotal Revenue US$ 2018/19
British AirwaysJFK-LHR๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง$1,159,126,794
United AirlinesSFO-EWR๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ$689,371,368
American AirlinesLAX-JFK๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ$661,739,788
Air CanadaYVR-YYZ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ$541,122,509
British AirwaysBOS-LHR๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง$523,527,241
Air FranceJFK-CDG๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท$486,378,698
United AirlinesLAX-EWR๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ$479,908,312
Cathay Pacific AirwaysJFK-HKG๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ$475,514,451
Delta Air LinesLAX-JFK๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ$465,130,366
British AirwaysLAX-LHR๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง$452,136,502

Transcontinental routes dominate the domestic market with LAXโ€“JFK appearing twice in the ranking for both American and Delta Air Lines.

Asia, Top 10 Highest Revenue Routes by Airline

Despite Asiaโ€™s rise as an economic superpower, there are no routes that break the billion dollar barrier. Singapore Airlinesโ€™ Singapore (SIN) to Londonโ€™s Heathrow (LHR) tops the list, generating $736 million in 2019.

AirlineAirport PairCountriesTotal Revenue US$ 2018/19
Singapore AirlinesSIN-LHR๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง$735,597,614
Cathay Pacific AirlinesHKG-LHR๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง$604,595,063
Singapore AirlinesSIN-SYD๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ$549,711,946
Vietnam AirlinesSGN-HAN๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ$488,487,259
Cathay Pacific AirlinesHKG-JFK๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ$475,514,451
Japan AirlinesOKA-HND๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต$447,224,346
Singapore AirlinesCGK-SIN๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ$436,905,694
Japan AirlinesFUK-HND๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต$431,457,469
Singapore AirlinesSIN-MEL๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ$414,276,407
Cathay Pacific AirlinesHKG-SIN๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฌ$389,910,239

The routes that dominate Asia connect the financial hubs of London, New York, Singapore, and Hong Kong. There are also two domestic routes in Japan, connecting both Fukuoka (FUK) and Okinawa (OKA) to Tokyoโ€™s Haneda (HND) airport.

Africa, Top 10 Highest Revenue Routes by Airline

At the top of the ranking in Africa is Johannesburg (JNB) to Dubai International Airport (DXB) with revenues of $315 million. Dubai has become an important hub for high value flights arriving and departing Africa, a position that may prove profitable as air traffic on the continent increases in coming years.

AirlineAirport PairCountriesTotal Revenue US$ 2018/19
EmiratesJNB-DXB๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช$315,678,326
British AirwaysJNB-LHR๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง$295,167,492
Saudi Arabian AirlinesCAI-JED๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ$242,155,949
TAAG Angola AirlinesLAD-LIS๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ด๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น$231,155,949
South African AirlinesJNB-CPT๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ$184,944,128
EmiratesCAI-DXB๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช$181,392,011
EmiratesCPT-DXB๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช$176,743,498
Air FranceABJ-CDG๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท$174,986,272
British AirwaysCPT-LHR๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง$174,605,201
EmiratesMRU-DXB๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ช$163,952,609

Despite the smaller earnings compared to larger markets, some airline companies see the potential for growth in Africa. Virgin Atlantic will fly a route between Londonโ€™s Heathrow and Cape Town in South Africa, while Qatar Airlines acquired a stake in RwandAir.

Financial Hubs

The cities that appear in the top revenue ranking are revealing. Since business and first class travelers are such an important revenue driver, it makes sense that connections between the worldโ€™s financial hubs are delivering big value to airlines.

As Asian and African economies continue to evolve, what route could be the next billion dollar route for airlines?

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Demographics

Mapped: The Ins and Outs of Remittance Flows

Every year, migrant workers send billions of dollars back to their home countriesโ€”reaching $550 billion in 2019. Where do these remittance flows wind up?

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Mapped: The Ins and Outs of Remittance Flows

The global immigrant population is growing at a robust pace, and their aggregate force is one to be reckoned with. In 2019, migrants collectively sent $550.5 billion in money back to their home countriesโ€”money transfer flows that are also known as remittances.

Remittances serve as an economic lifeline around the world, particularly for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Todayโ€™s visualization relies on the latest data from the World Bank to create a snapshot of these global remittance flows.

Where do most of these remittances come from, and which countries are the biggest recipients?

Remittances: An Origin Story

Remittances are a type of capital flow, with significant impacts on the places they wind up. These money transfers have surpassed official aid being sent to LMICs for decades, and in this day and age, are rivaling even Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows.

Remittance flows mainly help improve basic living standards such as housing, healthcare, and education, with leftover funds going towards other parts of the economy. They can also be a means for increasing the social mobility of family and friends back home.

Altogether, 50% of remittances are sent in either U.S. dollars, or the closely-linked currencies of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, such as the Saudi riyal. It’s not surprising then, that the U.S. is the biggest origin country of remittances, contributing $68.5 billion in 2018โ€”more than double that of the next-highest country, Saudi Arabia, at $33.6 billion.

Remittance Flows As A Safety Net

The impact of remittances on LMICs can vary depending on what you measure. In absolute terms, the top 10 LMIC recipients received $350 billion, or nearly 64% of total remittances in 2019.

Top Remittance Recipients in 2019 (USD)

RankCountryRemittance Inflows% of Nominal GDP
#1๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India$82.2B2.8%
#2๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China$70.3B0.5%
#3๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ Mexico$38.7B3.1%
#4๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ Philippines$35.1B9.8%
#5๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ Egypt$26.4B8.8%
#6๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Nigeria$25.4B5.7%
#7๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฐ Pakistan$21.9B7.9%
#8๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฉ Bangladesh$17.5B5.5%
#9๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ Vietnam$16.7B6.4%
#10๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Ukraine$15.9B11.8%

India tops the chart as the largest remittances beneficiary, followed by China and Mexico. Interestingly, these three countries are also the main destinations of remittance flows from the U.S., but in the reverse order. Mexico and the U.S. have one of the most interconnected remittance corridors in the world.

However, the chart above makes it clear that simply counting the dollars is only one part of the picture. Despite these multi-billion dollar numbers, remittances are equal to only a fraction of these economies.

By looking at remittances as a percentage of nominal GDP, it’s clear that they can have an outsize impact on nations, even if the overall value of flows are much lower in comparison.

Top Remittance Recipients in 2019 (% of GDP)

RankCountryRemittance Inflows% of Nominal GDP
#1๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ด Tonga$0.19B38.5%
#2๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡น Haiti$3.3B34.3%
#3๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ต Nepal$8.6B29.9%
#4๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฏ Tajikistan$2.3B29.7%
#5๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Kyrgyz Republic$2.4B29.6%
#6๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ณ Honduras$5.3B21.4%
#7๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ป El Salvador$5.6B20.8%
#8๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Comoros$0.14B19.3%
#9๐Ÿ‡ผ๐Ÿ‡ธ Samoa$0.17B18.4%
#10๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ธ West Bank and Gaza$2.6B17.6%

Itโ€™s clear that the cash influxes provided by remittances are crucial to many smaller countries. Take the Polynesian archipelago of Tonga, for example: even though it only saw $190 million in remittances from abroad, that amount accounts for nearly 40% of the countryโ€™s nominal GDP.

Will The Remittance Tides Turn?

The World Bank projects remittance flows to increase to nearly $600 billion by 2021. But are such projections of future remittance flows reliable? The researchers offer two reasons why remittances may ebb and flow.

On one hand, anti-immigration sentiment across major economies could complicate this growth, as evidenced by Brexit. The good news? That doesn’t stop immigration itself from taking place. Instead, where these migrants and their money end up, are constantly in flux.

This means that as immigration steadily grows, so will remittance flows. Whatโ€™s more, fintech innovations have the potential to bolster this progress, by making money transfers cheaper and easier to access.

Tackling [high transaction costs] is crucial not only for economic and social development, but also for improving financial inclusion.

โ€”UN ESCAP, Oct 2019

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