Mapped: The Top Import for Each Country - The Americas
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The Top Import for Each Country: The Americas

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The Top Import for Each Country: The Americas

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The Briefing

  • Petroleum is the top import across the Americas (Northern America, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America)
  • The U.S. is the #1 importer worldwide. In 2018, its total product import value reached $2.4T

The Top Import in Each Country: The Americas

Almost all nations across the globe import goods from other countries. But what types of products are in high demand, and to what degree are these hot commodities exchanged worldwide?

Today’s graphic provides an overview of the top imports across the Americas. For brevity, we’ve excluded regions with an import value below $1 billion.

The Top Imports, by Country

Petroleum is the most popular import across the Americas region. In fact, it’s the top import in 15 of the 22 countries included on this list:

Country / RegionContinentTop ImportImport Value (2018, $B USD)
🇨🇦 CanadaNorthern AmericaVehicles29.4
🇺🇸 United States of AmericaNorthern AmericaVehicles176.8
🇰🇾 Cayman IslandsThe CaribbeanShips3.2
🇧🇸 BahamasThe CaribbeanShips2.1
🇩🇴 Dominican RepublicThe CaribbeanPetroleum1.6
🇱🇨 Saint LuciaThe CaribbeanPetroleum1.2
🇲🇽 MexicoCentral AmericaPetroleum31.3
🇵🇦 PanamaCentral AmericaPetroleum5.6
🇬🇹 GuatemalaCentral AmericaPetroleum2.0
🇨🇷 Costa RicaCentral AmericaPetroleum1.6
🇸🇻 El SalvadorCentral AmericaPetroleum1.1
🇭🇳 HondurasCentral AmericaPetroleum1.2
🇧🇷 BrazilSouth AmericaPetroleum11.7
🇦🇷 ArgentinaSouth AmericaVehicles5.0
🇨🇱 ChileSouth AmericaVehicles4.8
🇻🇪 Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)South AmericaPetroleum4.5
🇵🇪 PeruSouth AmericaPetroleum3.5
🇪🇨 EcuadorSouth AmericaPetroleum2.9
🇨🇴 ColombiaSouth AmericaPetroleum2.9
🇺🇾 UruguaySouth AmericaPetroleum2.3
🇬🇾 GuyanaSouth AmericaShips1.5
🇵🇾 ParaguaySouth AmericaPetroleum1.3

Vehicles are the second most popular, ranking as the number one import in four of the 22 countries. Cars are particularly popular in Northern America— they’re the top import in both the U.S. and Canada.

Lastly, ships place third, snagging the top spot in three of the 22 countries. Interestingly, two of these nations are in the Caribbean.

The Top 10 Regions, by Import Value

When looking at which nations import the most of their top product, the U.S. leads the pack.

In 2018, the U.S. imported $176.8 billion worth of foreign vehicles—around $147 billion more than its northern neighbor, Canada:

RegionTop ImportImport Value (2018, $B USD)
🇺🇸 United States of AmericaVehicles176.8
🇨🇦 CanadaVehicles29.4
🇲🇽 MexicoPetroleum31.3
🇧🇷 BrazilPetroleum11.7
🇵🇦 PanamaPetroleum5.6
🇦🇷 ArgentinaVehicles5.0
🇨🇱 ChileVehicles4.8
🇻🇪 Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)Petroleum4.5
🇵🇪 PeruPetroleum3.5
🇰🇾 Cayman IslandsShips3.2

The U.S. relies heavily on Mexico for its foreign vehicles—it imported over 2 million light vehicles from south of the border in 2018. Manufacturing of vehicles and associated parts makes up nearly 18% of Mexico’s total exports.

Yet, while the U.S. imports a lot of foreign cars, the country exports its fair share of vehicles as well, especially to Canada. In fact, the U.S. is Canada’s top source for imported vehicles.

The high volume of trade between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada is fairly unsurprising, given the trade agreement between the three countries. Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect in 1994, Mexico in particular has seen a significant boost in trade activity. In 2018, imports accounted for 39% of Mexico’s GDP—a 21 percentage point rise from 1994.

»To learn more about the top imports worldwide, read our full article Mapped: The World’s Biggest Importers in 2018

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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The Accelerating Frequency of Extreme Weather

Extreme weather events, like droughts and heatwaves, have become more common over the years. But things are expected to get worse.

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Extreme Weather Events

The Briefing

  • We’re already seeing the impact of climate change—today, droughts, heatwaves, and extreme rainstorms are 2x more frequent than they were a century ago
  • In less than a decade, Earth’s climate is expected to warm another 0.5°C
  • If this happens, heatwaves will be 4.1x more frequent than they were in the 1850-1900s

The Accelerating Frequency of Extreme Weather

The world is already witnessing the effects of climate change.

A few months ago, the western U.S. experienced one of the worst droughts it’s seen in the last 20 years. At the same time, southern Europe roasted in an extreme heatwave, with temperatures reaching 45°C in some parts.

But things are only expected to get worse in the near future. Here’s a look at how much extreme climate events have changed over the last 200 years, and what’s to come if global temperatures keep rising.

A Century of Warming

The global surface temperature has increased by about 1°C since the 1850s. And according to the IPCC, this warming has been indisputably caused by human influence.

As the global temperatures have risen, the frequency of extreme weather events have increased along with it. Heatwaves, droughts and extreme rainstorms used to happen once in a decade on average, but now:

  • Heatwaves are 2.8x more frequent
  • Droughts are 1.7x more frequent
  • Extreme rainstorms are 1.3x more frequent

By 2030, the global surface temperature is expected to rise 1.5°C above the Earth’s baseline temperature, which means that:

  • Heatwaves would be 4.1x more frequent
  • Droughts would be 2x more frequent
  • Extreme rainstorms would be 1.5x more frequent

The Ripple Effects of Extreme Weather

Extreme weather events have far-reaching impacts on communities, especially when they cause critical system failures.

Mass infrastructure breakdowns during Hurricane Ida this year caused widespread power outages in the state of Louisiana that lasted for several days. In 2020, wildfires in Syria devastated hundreds of villages and injured dozens of civilians with skin burns and breathing complications.

As extreme weather events continue to increase in frequency, and communities become increasingly more at risk, sound infrastructure is becoming more important than ever.

Where does this data come from?

Source: IPCC
Details: The data used in this graphic is from the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, which provides a high-level summary of the state of the climate, how it’s changing, and the role of human influence.

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Blockchain Applications: Tokenization of Real Assets

Tokenization is a future application of blockchain technology, and it could make investing in physical assets much easier. (Sponsored Content)

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The Briefing

  • Tokenization is a solution that divides the ownership of an asset into digital tokens
  • This process could democratize investment in physical assets

Blockchain Applications: Tokenization of Real Assets

Did you know that blockchain has the potential to transform the way we invest in physical assets?

Tokenization is a solution that divides the ownership of an asset (such as a building) into digital tokens. These tokens act as “shares”, and are similar to non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The difference here, however, is that the tokens are fungible and they are actually tied to the value of the asset.

In this graphic sponsored by Global X ETFs, we visualize how tokenization could be used in real estate.

Tokenization in Real Estate

Blockchain has strong potential in real estate investing because it mitigates many of the asset class’ hurdles. Here’s a brief round-up of its theoretical advantages:

Liquidity

Buying and selling real estate is normally a tedious process. If a property were to be tokenized, it would essentially cut out the middleman and allow buyers and sellers to transfer ownership directly.

These transfers would be as easy as buying and selling cryptocurrency.

Removing barriers to entry

Because properties are expensive, real estate investing is typically limited to institutional investors with large amounts of capital. Individuals can gain exposure through a real estate investment trust (REIT), but these vehicles can carry high minimums and fees.

Tokenization could enable individuals to buy and sell real estate in small denominations (even fractions of a token) and without traditional fees.

Transparency and security

Blockchains are decentralized, digital ledgers known for their security. Tampering with a blockchain’s data is incredibly difficult because the ledger is shared and verified by all of its users.

This provides investors with full transparency into the past transactions of a property, as well as an undeniable proof of ownership.

Democratizing Investment

If tokenization proves to be effective, it could be extended to a whole range of other physical assets—most of which have their own unique barriers. Consider the following table, which lists the 12-month and 10-year return of various luxury goods.

Category12-month return10-year return
Handbags+17%+108%
Wine+13%+127%
Collector cars+6%+193%
Watches+5%+89%
Rare whisky-4%+478%
Art-11%+71%

Source: Knight Frank (Dec 2020)

Rare luxury goods have historically been sold through live auctions, where the highest bidder is awarded ownership. Thanks to blockchain technology, this could change in the future. In fact, Sotheby’s (a 277-year-old auction house) recently began to accept cryptocurrency as a payment option in its auctions.

In short, tokenization has the potential to greatly reduce the barriers around alternative and physical assets. For investors, this means a much wider set of opportunities to pursue.

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