Sunday, February 21, 2010 0 comments ++[ CLICK TO COMMENT ]++

Sunday Spectacle XXXXVIII

World's Exports - 1999 to 2009

Charts like these can be grossly misleading if the start and end points are not representative of a typical year. Given how many countries saw major declines in 2009, I'm not sure how representative the 2009 rankings are. Some of these countries may be ranked low simply due to a temporary drop in 2009. In any case, what is likely to be an accurate representation is the compound growth rate from 1999 to 2009 (bottom-right chart.)

The most notable thing, which shouldn't be surprising to anyone, is the spectacular export growth in China. It's amazing to think that China posted 20% per year growth in exports in the past decade. I'm not too knowledgeable about distant history but it is possible that no (sizeable) country has ever done that in the last 500 years. Some countries like USA in the late 1800's and Japan in 1970's had high export growth but I doubt it was 20% per annum.

I haven't looked up the exact numbers but China's real GDP grew around 10% per year in the last decade and its nominal GDP probably grew around 15% per year (if we assume 5% inflation in China—the inflation number in China is debatable.) This shows how China's development was almost solely due to export growth.

I'm surprised to see that countries like Belgium and the Netherlands had strong export growth. I didn't realize those countries were doing well when it comes to exports.

Even with booming commodity exports, Canada comes up last on that list. Exports appeared to have grown only 2.7% in the last decade. I thought we did better but it looks like the strengthening Canadian dollar has killed off exports. Canada's manufacturing exports have been dying and my province isn't doing so well :(

(Source: "A Shift in the Export Powerhouses," By Floyd Norris, The New York Times. February 19, 2010)

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