The global trade engine seems to be running in full flow after being halted by Covid-19 induced headwinds, with the massive movement of container ships and cargo planes from one country to another. As per the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), trade in goods is projected to touch a record level of $22 trillion and in services about $6 trillion in 2021-22. The lifting of restrictions and lockdowns saw frequent exports and imports of common commodities like crude oil, automobiles, iron ore, pharmaceuticals, and smartphones.
The Top-Rated Sectors
Among all traded goods, finished automobiles rule the roost. On average, finished automobiles worth $1.35 trillion are being traded worldwide each year. As per an industry report, electric vehicles, autonomous driving, and mobility services are fueling market growth. The global automotive industry will grow to nearly $9 trillion by 2030, with new vehicle sales accounting for 38% of this value. Toyota Motor and Volkswagen Group are the leading carmakers, generating $250 billion and $245 billion in revenue, respectively. It is estimated that 88 million light vehicles will be produced in 2023, of which 15.4 will be electrified.
The Health Sector Is Looking Up
With health becoming a priority in the Covid era, the pharmaceutical sector comes next. The pharma industry has witnessed phenomenal growth in the past two decades, with revenues totaling $1.27 trillion in 2020. India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally, meeting 50% of the global demand for various vaccines, 40% of the generic demand in the US, and 25% of all medicine in the UK.
The next on the list of the most traded goods is refined petroleum at $825 billion. The five biggest exporters of processed petroleum oils in 2020 were the US, Russia, Netherlands, Singapore, and India. Shippers in Asia delivered the highest dollar worth of refined oil exports in 2020 with shipments valued at $172.4 billion or 39.6% of the global total, followed by European exporters at 38.8% while 16% of worldwide refined oil shipments originated from North America. The trade of crude petroleum and petroleum gas stands at $549 billion and $254 billion, respectively.
Where Do Electronics Stand?
Electronic and integrated circuits are the next most traded goods at $804 billion. In 2019, the top exporters of integrated circuits were Chinese Taipei ($114 billion), China ($108 billion), South Korea ($85.2 billion), Malaysia ($63 billion), and Singapore ($55.4 billion). The trade-in integrated circuits will continue to grow as these are used in electrical machinery and equipment.
The US is the biggest importer in most sectors, especially automobile and refined petroleum. Interestingly, it is also the top importer of refined petroleum and medical equipment. It imports one grade of refined oil at a low cost and exports a higher grade. China is the largest importer of crude oil, integrated circuits, and aircraft, while Germany is a top exporter of autos, vehicle parts, and pharmaceuticals.
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