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The Top Importers and Exporters of the World’s 18 Most Traded Goods

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The Top Importers and Exporters of the World’s 18 Most Traded Goods

View the high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.

Every day, massive quantities of goods get traded on the global market.

These goods can be entirely customized and unique, but more often they are things like commodities or bulk goods that get moved around on huge container ships from country to country. Included in this latter category would be common exports like crude oil, automobiles, iron ore, pharmaceuticals, and smartphones.

Which goods get traded the most, and what countries play the most important roles in these deals?

The Most Traded Goods

Today’s infographic comes to us from Teletrac Navman and it covers the world’s 18 most traded goods, as well as the top importer and exporter for each good.

Here are the good categories, along with the total dollar value and percentage of total exports that each category represents on the global market.

RankCategory of GoodTotal Value (2016)% of Total Global Exports
#1Cars$1,350 billion4.9%
#2Refined Petroleum$825 billion3.0%
#3Integrated Circuits$804 billion2.9%
#4Vehicle Parts$685 billion2.5%
#5Computers$614 billion2.2%
#6Pharmaceuticals$613 billion2.2%
#7Gold$576 billion2.1%
#8Crude Petroleum$549 billion2.0%
#9Telephones$510 billion1.8%
#10Broadcasting Equipment$395 billion1.4%
#11Diamonds$255 billion0.9%
#12Petroleum Gas$254 billion0.9%
#13Human or Animal Blood$252 billion0.9%
#14Aircraft$234 billion0.9%
#15Delivery Trucks$216 billion0.8%
#16Medical Instruments$216 billion0.8%
#17Insulated Wires$200 billion0.7%
#18Jewelry$198 billion0.7%

Finished automobiles are the top good traded worldwide with $1.35 trillion being traded each year between countries. Auto parts are not far behind in the #4 spot with $685 billion of trade.

Oil also stands out as a key commodity: refined petroleum ranks #2 with $825 billion of trade, while crude petroleum and petroleum gas are at #8 and #12, for $549 billion and $254 billion traded, respectively.

Finally, an odd standout is the category of human and animal blood – which apparently sees $252 billion in aggregate international trade each year.

In case you were wondering, here are the top exporters of human and animal blood:

Human and animal blood trade

Key Importers and Exporters

The United States is the biggest importer for 12 of the 18 trade categories, including the largest ones: automobiles and refined petroleum.

Interestingly, the U.S. is also the largest exporter of two of the goods that it is a top importer of: refined petroleum and medical equipment. This is because both are highly specialized categories – the U.S. may import one grade of refined oil at a low cost, while simultaneously exporting a higher or more specialized grade of oil at a premium.

Germany is a top exporter of autos, vehicle parts, and pharmaceuticals, while Switzerland is the number one importer and exporter of gold.

Lastly, China is the biggest exporter for five of the 18 trade categories: computers, broadcasting equipment, telephones, insulated wires, and jewelry, while being the largest importer of crude oil, integrated circuits, and aircraft.

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Global EV Production: BYD Surpasses Tesla

This graphic explores the latest EV production data for 2022, which shows BYD taking a massive step forward to surpass Tesla.

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Global EV Production: BYD Surpasses Tesla

This was originally posted on Elements. Sign up to the free mailing list to get beautiful visualizations on natural resource megatrends in your email every week.

2022 was another historic year for EVs, with annual production surpassing 10 million cars for the first time ever. This represents a sizeable bump up from 2021’s figure of 6.7 million.

In this infographic, we’ve used data from EV Volumes to visualize the top 15 brands by output. The color of each brand’s bubble represents their growth from 2021, with the darker shades depicting a larger percentage increase.

Data Overview and Key Takeaways

The raw data we used to create this infographic is listed below. Volume figures for 2021 were included for convenience.

RankCompany20222021Growth from 2021
1🇨🇳 BYD1,858,364598,019211%
2🇺🇸 Tesla1,314,319936,24740%
3🇩🇪 VW Group839,207763,85110%
4🇺🇸 GM (incl. Wuling Motors)584,602516,63113%
5🇺🇸 🇮🇹 🇫🇷 Stellantis512,276381,84334%
6🇰🇷 Hyundai Motors (incl. Kia)497,816348,66043%
7🇩🇪 BMW Group433,164329,18232%
8🇨🇳 Geely Auto Group351,35699,980251%
9🇩🇪 Mercedes-Benz Group337,364281,92920%
10🇫🇷 🇯🇵 Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance335,964289,47316%
11🇨🇳 GAC Group287,977125,384130%
12🇨🇳 SAIC Motor Corp.256,341237,0438%
13🇸🇪 Volvo Cars253,266220,57615%
14🇨🇳 Chery Auto Co.253,141107,482136%
15🇨🇳 Changan Auto Co.245,555105,072134%
16🌎 Other (41 companies)1,927,2111,326,26245%

Includes BEVs and PHEVs

BYD Auto

BYD Auto has leaped past Tesla to become the new EV king, boosting its output by a massive 211% in 2022. Given this trajectory, the company will likely become the world’s first automaker to produce over 2 million EVs in a single year.

BYD has a limited presence in non-domestic markets, but this could change rather quickly. The company is planning a major push into Europe, where it expects to build factories in order to avoid EU tariffs on Chinese car imports.

The company is also building a factory in Thailand, to produce right-hand drive models for markets like Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

Tesla

Tesla increased its output by a respectable 40% in 2022, staying ahead of Western brands like Volkswagen (+10%) and GM (+13%), but falling behind its Chinese rivals such as Geely (+251%).

Whether these Chinese brands can maintain their triple digit growth figures is uncertain, but one thing is clear: Tesla is facing more competition than ever before.

The company is targeting annual production of 20 million cars by 2030, meaning it will need to keep yearly growth rates in the high double digits for the rest of the decade. To support this initiative, Tesla is planning a multi-billion dollar factory in Mexico capable of producing 1 million cars a year.

Hyundai

Hyundai Motor Company, which also owns Kia, posted a similar growth rate to Tesla. The South Korean automaker was a relatively early player in the EV space, revealing the first Hyundai Ioniq in 2016.

In late 2022, several countries including South Korea expressed their disapproval of the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which withdrew tax credits on EVs not produced within the United States.

Hyundai is currently building a $5.5 billion EV factory in the state of Georgia, but this facility will not become operational until 2025. In the meantime, South Korea has revised its own EV subsidy program to favor domestic brands.

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