Ranked: The World's Most Valuable Nation Brands in 2020
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Ranked: The Most Valuable Nation Brands in 2020

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Most Valuable Nation Brands in 2020

The Most Valuable Nation Brands in 2020

In today’s heavily interconnected world, a country’s reputation can have a big impact on its overall economic prosperity.

In fact, a country’s reputation—its brand—is arguably one of its most important assets. A strong nation brand has the power to boost tourism, attract and retain talent, and potentially bring in foreign investment.

This graphic uses data from Brand Finance’s Nation Brands 2020 report, which attempts to quantify the reputations of different countries around the world. We’ll also dive into the top 10 nation brands, and how their brand value has changed over time.

How is Nation Brand Value Quantified?

While the report provides a full explanation of its methodology, here’s a quick summary of how the scoring system works.

First, Brand Finance calculates a country’s Brand Strength Index (BSI) score using three pillars:

  1. Goods & Services
    Openness to tourism, market size, and trade rules
  2. Society
    Quality of life, corruption, and cultural image
  3. Investment
    Talent retention, use of technology, R&D, taxation, and regulation

From there, the BSI score is used to calculate a hypothetical royalty rate, and applied to a country’s GDP. Then, a discount rate is factored in to account for economic risk. Finally, numbers are crunched to provide the “Brand Value” of a country.

The Top 10 Most Valuable Nation Brands

In this year’s report, Brand Finance highlights the impact COVID-19 has had on nation brand values—in 2020, the top 10 nation brands have seen a 14% drop in brand value, on average.

Here are the most valuable nation brands of 2020, and their change in value since last year:

RankCountry2020 Value (USD, $T)Change since 2019
1🇺🇸 United States$23.7-14.5%
2🇨🇳 China$18.8-3.7%
3🇯🇵 Japan$4.3-6.0%
4🇩🇪 Germany$3.8-21.5%
5🇬🇧 United Kingdom$3.3-13.9%
6🇫🇷 France$2.7-12.8%
7🇮🇳 India$2.0-20.8%
8🇨🇦 Canada$1.9-13.0%
9🇮🇹 Italy$1.8-15.8%
10🇰🇷 South Korea$1.7-20.6%

Despite a 14.5% decrease in value, the U.S. managed to maintain its top position with a nation brand value of $23.7 trillion.

Like many other countries, 2020 has been a tough year for America. From recording the most COVID-19 cases and deaths to dealing with a controversial presidential election, the economic powerhouse faced a tremendous amount of international scrutiny this year.

Despite all this, the United States remains one of the most successful and dominant economies worldwide—the only close competitor is China, with a nation brand value of $18.8 trillion.

Over the Years: China’s Steady Climb

While China still ranks below the U.S. in total brand value, its percentage decrease from last year was far lower than the other nations on the list. China stayed relatively stable with a modest 4% drop, about 10 percentage points less than the global average.

China’s stability this year is nothing new. In fact, the country has been steadily closing the brand value gap between itself and the U.S. since 2015:

Nation Brand Value Over Time
This year marks the smallest gap yet, with just a $4.9 trillion brand value difference between the U.S. and China. This is significantly lower than in previous years—for instance, in 2015 the U.S. had a $13.1 trillion lead over China.

Will America make a comeback in 2021 under a new administration, or will the gap between it and China close even further?

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Markets

The Top Google Searches Related to Investing in 2022

What was on investors’ minds in 2022? Discover the top Google searches and how the dominant trends played out in portfolios.

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Trend lines showing when the top Google searches related to investing reached peak popularity over the course of 2022.
The following content is sponsored by New York Life Investments

The Top Google Searches Related to Investing in 2022

It was a turbulent year for the markets in 2022, with geopolitical conflict, rising prices, and the labor market playing key roles. Which stories captured investors’ attention the most? 

This infographic from New York Life Investments outlines the top Google searches related to investing in 2022, and offers a closer look at some of the trends.

Top Google Searches: Year in Review

We picked some of the top economic and investing stories that saw peak search interest in the U.S. each month, according to Google Trends.

Month of Peak InterestSearch Term
JanuaryGreat Resignation
FebruaryRussian Stock Market
MarchOil Price
April Housing Bubble
MayValue Investing
JuneBitcoin
JulyRecession
AugustInflation
SeptemberUS Dollar
OctoberOPEC
NovemberLayoffs
DecemberInterest Rate Forecast

Data based on exact searches in the U.S. from December 26, 2021 to December 18, 2022.

Let’s look at each quarter in more detail, to see how these top Google searches were related to activity in the economy and investors’ portfolios.

Q1 2022

The start of the year was marked by U.S. workers quitting their jobs in record numbers, and the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war. For instance, the price of crude oil skyrocketed after the war caused supply uncertainties. Early March’s peak of $125 per barrel was a 13-year high.

DateClosing Price of WTI Crude Oil
(USD/Barrel)
January 2, 2022$76
March 3, 2022$125
December 29, 2022$80

While crude oil lost nearly all its gains by year-end, the energy sector in general performed well. In fact, the S&P 500 Energy Index gained 57% over the year compared to the S&P 500’s 19% loss.

Q2 2022

The second quarter of 2022 saw abnormal house price growth, renewed interest in value investing, and a bitcoin crash. In particular, value investing performed much better than growth investing over the course of the year.

IndexPrice Return in 2022
S&P 500 Value Index-7.4%
S&P 500 Growth Index-30.1%

Value stocks have typically outperformed during periods of rising rates, and 2022 was no exception.

Q3 2022

The third quarter was defined by worries about a recession and inflation, along with interest in the rising U.S. dollar. In fact, the U.S. dollar gained against nearly every major currency.

Currency USD Appreciation Against Currency
(Dec 31 2020-Sep 30 2022)
Japanese Yen40.1%
Chinese Yuan9.2%
Euro25.1%
Canadian Dollar7.2%
British Pound22.0%
Australian Dollar18.1%

Higher interest rates made the U.S. dollar more attractive to investors, since it meant they would get a higher return on their fixed income investments.

Q4 2022

The end of the year was dominated by OPEC cutting oil production, high layoffs in the tech sector, and curiosity about the future of interest rates. The Federal Reserve’s December 2022 economic projections offer clues about the trajectory of the policy rate.

 202320242025Longer Run
Minimum Projection4.9%3.1%2.4%2.3%
Median Projection5.1%4.1%3.1%2.5%
Maximum Projection5.6%5.6%5.6%3.3%

The Federal Reserve expects interest rates to peak in 2023, with rates to remain elevated above pre-pandemic levels for the foreseeable future.

The Top Google Searches to Come

After a year of volatility across asset classes, economic uncertainty remains. Which themes will become investors’ top Google searches in 2023?

Find out how New York Life Investments can help you make sense of market trends.

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