Mapped: The Top Import for Each Country - Asia Edition
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The Top Import for Each Country: Asia

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Top Imports in Asia

The Briefing

  • Petroleum is the most popular import across Asia
  • China imports the most petroleum in Asia—in 2018, it brought in over $207 billion worth
  • China is the world’s second largest importer (the U.S. comes in at number one)

The Top Imports in Asia

By 2040, Asia is projected to make up 40% of worldwide consumption. What types of goods and products are in high demand by the world’s (soon-to-be) largest consumer? One way to tackle this question is by looking at the top imports across Asia.

The map above does just that. For brevity, we’ve excluded regions with a top import value below $1 billion.

Top Imports in Asia, by Country

Just like the Americas, petroleum is the most popular import in Asia. In fact, it’s the top import in 19 of the 34 countries included on this list, including in China where over $200 billion worth of petroleum was imported in 2018:

CountryRegionTop ImportImport Value (2018, USD)
🇨🇳 ChinaEastern AsiaPetroleum$207.6 B
🇭🇰 China, Hong Kong SAREastern AsiaElectronic integrated circuits$155.9 B
🇮🇳 IndiaSouthern AsiaPetroleum$101.4 B
🇰🇷 South KoreaEastern AsiaPetroleum$74.8B
🇯🇵 JapanEastern AsiaPetroleum$72.3B
🇸🇬 SingaporeSouth-eastern AsiaPetroleum$48.0 B
🇲🇾 MalaysiaSouth-eastern AsiaElectronic integrated circuits$29.6 B
🇦🇪 United Arab EmiratesWestern AsiaGold$ 27.3 B
🇹🇭 ThailandSouth-eastern AsiaPetroleum$23.7 B
🇻🇳 VietnamSouth-eastern AsiaElectronic integrated circuits$23.0 B
🇵🇭 PhilippinesSouth-eastern AsiaElectronic integrated circuits$20.1 B
🇮🇩 IndonesiaSouth-eastern AsiaPetroleum$16.1 B
🇹🇷 TurkeyWestern AsiaPetroleum$12.4 B
🇸🇦 Saudi ArabiaWestern AsiaVehicles$8.9 B
🇮🇱 IsraelWestern AsiaPetroleum$7.2 B
🇵🇰 PakistanSouthern AsiaPetroleum$5.8 B
🇰🇭 CambodiaSouth-eastern AsiaGold$5.7 B
🇧🇭 BahrainWestern AsiaPetroleum$5.3 B
🇶🇦 QatarWestern AsiaAircrafts$4.5 B
🇧🇩 BangladeshSouthern AsiaPetroleum$4.1 B
🇮🇶 IraqWestern AsiaBroadcasting equipment$3.8 B
🇮🇷 IranSouthern AsiaVehicles$3.5 B
🇱🇧 LebanonWestern AsiaPetroleum$3.5 B
🇰🇼 KuwaitWestern AsiaVehicles$3.0 B
🇲🇲 MyanmarSouth-eastern AsiaPetroleum$2.8 B
🇱🇰 Sri LankaSouthern AsiaPetroleum$2.3 B
🇴🇲 OmanWestern AsiaVehicles$2.2 B
🇨🇾 CyprusWestern AsiaPetroleum$2.2 B
🇯🇴 JordanWestern AsiaVehicles$1.5 B
🇳🇵 NepalSouthern AsiaPetroleum$1.4 B
🇦🇿 AzerbaijanWestern AsiaGold$1.3 B
🇰🇿 KazakhstanCentral AsiaPetroleum$1.1 B
🇲🇳 MongoliaEastern AsiaPetroleum$1.0 B

Vehicles are the second most popular, ranking first in five countries. Saudi Arabia is the top importer of vehicles, with an import value of $8.9 billion in 2018.

In third place, electronic integrated circuits, which are small chips used in electronic devices, rank as the top import in four countries. Three of those are in South-eastern Asia, which makes sense considering the region is becoming Asia’s manufacturing hub.

Hong Kong is the top importer of integrated circuits—not just across Asia, but worldwide. Interestingly, integrated circuits are also Hong Kong’s top export. Because many of Hong Kong’s manufacturing facilities have been relocated to China, the region’s electronics industry focuses on R&D, product design, and logistics.

>> Interested in global trade? You should check out this article: The Top Import for Each Country: The Americas

Where does this data come from?

Source: BACI, UN Comtrade
Details: BACI is an international trade database, providing information on bilateral trade flows for more than 5000 products and 200 countries. It pulls data directly from the United Nations Statistical Division (UN Comtrade)
Notes: For more information on methodology, visit the CEPII website

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Chart: 30 Years of Wildfires in America

Here’s a look at the number of wildfires in America that have occurred each year since 1990, and the acres of forest land scorched during that period.

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Wildfires in America

The Briefing

  • An average of 70,000 wildfires blaze through the U.S. each year
  • These fires destroy approximately 5.8 million acres of land on a yearly basis
  • Over 43,000 fires have started across the U.S., burning 5 million acres of land as of Sept 3, 2021

30 Years of Wildfires in America

This summer, record-breaking droughts and relentless heat waves have fueled disastrous wildfires across the United States. It’s gotten so bad, the state of California has decided to shut down all national parks for two weeks to stop the spread.

But how disastrous has this year been compared to previous years? This graphic gives a historical look at the number of wildfires in America that have occurred each year since 1990, and the acres of forest land scorched during that period.

Total Wildland Fires and Acres from 1990 to 2020

In the U.S., an average of 70,000 wildfires burn through 5.8 million acres of land each year. But some years have been worse than others.

Year# of Fires# of Acres Burned
199066,4814,621,621
199175,7542,953,578
199287,3942,069,929
199358,8101,797,574
199479,1074,073,579
199582,2341,840,546
199696,3636,065,998
199766,1962,856,959
199881,0431,329,704
199992,4875,626,093
200092,2507,393,493
200184,0793,570,911
200273,4577,184,712
200363,6293,960,842
200465,461*8,097,880
200566,7538,689,389
200696,3859,873,745
200785,7059,328,045
200878,9795,292,468
200978,7925,921,786
201071,9713,422,724
201174,1268,711,367
201267,7749,326,238
201347,5794,319,546
201463,3123,595,613
201568,15110,125,149
201667,7435,509,995
201771,49910,026,086
201858,0838,767,492
201950,4774,664,364
202058,95010,122,336
2021*43,2505,024,744

*note: 2021 figures as of September 3, 2021

One particularly bad year was 2006, which had over 96,000 fires and destroyed 9.9 million acres of land across the country. It was the year of the Esperanza Fire in California, which burned 40,000 acres and cost $9 million in damages.

2015 was also a devastating year, with over 10.1 million acres destroyed across the country–the worst year on record, in terms of acres burned.

Climate Change’s Role in Wildfires

Wildfires are only expected to worsen in the near future since warmer temperatures and drier climates allow the fires to grow quickly and intensely.

We’re already starting to see climate change impact the wildfire season. For instance, autumn is usually peak wildfire season for California, but this year, one of the largest fires on record started in mid-July, and is still burning as of the date of publication.

>>Also see: North America’s Devastating Wildfires, Viewed From Space

Where does this data come from?

Source: National Interagency Fire Center
Details: 2004 fires and acres do not include state lands for North Carolina.

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Visualizing the Typical Atlantic Hurricane Season

While the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June to late November, about 85% of activity happens between August, September, and October.

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The Briefing

  • Storms are categorized by their wind speed. Any storm with winds stronger than 111 miles per hour (mph) is considered a major hurricane
  • This year’s Hurricane Ida is one of the strongest hurricanes on record to hit the U.S. mainland, with winds reaching up to 150 mph

Explained: The Typical Atlantic Hurricane Season

On August 29, 2021, Hurricane Ida hurled into the state of Louisiana at rapid speed. With winds of 150 mph, preliminary reports believe it’s the fifth strongest hurricane to ever hit the U.S. mainland.

As research shows, Hurricane Ida’s impact hit right at the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season. Here’s a brief explainer on the basics of hurricanes, how storms are classified, and what a typical storm season looks like in the Atlantic Basin.

Let’s dive in.

Classifying a Storm

Hurricanes are intense tropical storms that are classified by their wind speed. What’s the difference between a hurricane, a typhoon, and a cyclone? They’re essentially the same thing, but are named differently based on their location:

  • Hurricane is used for storms that formed in the North Atlantic, central North Pacific, and eastern North Pacific (impacting countries like the U.S.)
  • Typhoon is used for storms in the Northwest Pacific (impacting countries like Japan)
  • Tropical Cyclone is used for storms in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean (impacting countries like Fiji and India)

Since we’re focusing on the Atlantic, we’ll be using the term hurricane and/or storm throughout the rest of this article.

A storm needs to reach a certain wind speed before it gets classified as a hurricane. Storms with wind speeds of:

  • <73 mph are considered Tropical Storms
  • 74-110 mph winds are considered Hurricanes
  • 111 mph+ winds are considered Major Hurricanes

Breaking Down the Atlantic Hurricane Season

Generally, Hurricanes form in the warm ocean waters in the central Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, following westward trade winds and curving up towards the North American mainland. Hurricanes are formed when these specific elements come into play:

  • A pre-existing weather disturbance such as a tropical wave
  • Water at least 80ºF (27ºC) with a depth of at least 50 meters
  • Thunderstorm activity
  • Low wind shear (too much wind can remove the heat and moisture hurricanes use for fuel)

The Atlantic hurricane season technically lasts six months, beginning on June 1st and ending in late November. However, 85% of activity happens between August, September, and October.

Each subregion in the Atlantic has its own unique climatology, which means peak seasons can vary from place to place—for example, south Florida sees the most hurricanes in October, while the entire Atlantic Basin’s peak season is early-to-mid September.

Climate Change and Hurricanes

According to the Center of Climate Change and Energy Solutions, it’s unclear whether climate change will increase the number of hurricanes per year.

However, research indicates that warmer weather and high ocean temperatures will most likely lead to more intense storms, ultimately causing more damage and devastation.

» Want to learn more about climate change? Here’s an article on The Paris Agreement: Is The World’s Climate Action Plan on Track?

Where does this data come from?

Source:Brian McNoldy, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

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