Economics

10 of the World's Most Traded Goods

Cars accounted for $1.35 trillion worth of global trade in 2016.

Vast amounts of products are traded around the world annually, worth trillions of dollars. Different nations produce and export the same products to their buyers every day, but there are some countries that produce and export more than their competitors. In 2016 the most traded commodity in the world was cars which accounted for about 4.9% of the world’s trade.

The world’s most traded products

1. Cars

Vehicles are the most traded commodities in the world. In 2016, cars accounted for about $1.35 trillion of the world trade. The top car exporter was Germany who contributed about 22% of the traded vehicles after exporting cars worth $150 billion. Japan exported cars worth 90.3 billion while the United States sold about 8% of the world's exported cars. Canada exported cars worth $48.8 billion which is about 7.3% of the exported cars while South Korea exported products worth $37.4 billion. The top importers of vehicles in 2016 were the United States who imported cars worth $173 billion, Germany, the United Kingdom and China.

2. Refined petroleum

Refined petroleum, also known as fuel, gasoline or diesel was the second most traded product is 2016. The top exporters of fuel were the United States ($61.9 billion) followed by Russia ($45.1 billion) and Singapore ($35.5 billion). The Netherlands sold about 8.3% of exported fuel while India exported gasoline worth $25.4 billion. The top importers of fuel in 2016 were the United States ($41.2 billion), followed by Singapore ($31.5 billion) and then the Netherlands. Fuel is the top export for various nations including Jamaica, Croatia, Lithuania, Greece and Lithuania.

3. Integrated circuit

Integrated circuits, also called chips or semiconductors, are the top exported products in Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong. The top exporters of the semiconductors in 2016 were Hong Kong who exported chips worth $96.9 billion followed by Singapore ($65.5 billion), China ($54.8 billion) and Malaysia. The leading importers of integrated circuits were China, who bought goods worth $128 billion, followed by Hong Kong who sold chips worth $81.4 billion, Singapore, and the United States. South Korea bought integrated circuits valued at $19.8 billion.

4. Car parts

Vehicle parts, also known as auto or car part, were the fourth most traded products in 2016. Car parts are the main exports from various nations including Portugal, Romania, Poland, and the United States. Being the top exporters of cars, Germany is also the top exporter of car parts who traded parts worth $56.3 billion. Other top traders were the United States ($43 billion), Japan ($31.3 billion) and China and Mexico. Other than being the top importers of cars, the United States is the top importer of car parts. They imported parts worth $64.9 billion, followed by Germany ($37.4 billion) and then China and Mexico.

5. Computers

China is the top manufacturer and exporter of computers. Controlling over 44% of the traded computers, China exported products valued at $136 billion in 2016. The other top exporters of computers include the United States ($26.4 billion), Hong Kong ($19.9 billion), Mexico ($21.2 billion), and then Germany who exported computers worth $14.7 billion. The top importers were the Czech Republic and ($15.5 billion), Japan ($15.5 billion), Hong Kong ($22.2 billion) and Germany ($24.3 billion).

6. Pharmaceuticals

Pharmaceuticals are the sixth most traded product in the world. Medicines are the chief exports from Malta and Italy. Germany was the top exporter of pharmaceuticals in 2016 after exporting products worth $48.3 billion, followed by Switzerland, Belgium and France. The United States is also one of the top exporters of medicines, and in 2016 they traded goods worth $22.4 billion. The top importers of pharmaceuticals were the United States, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

7. Gold

Gold is the seventh most traded commodity in the world. Switzerland was the top exporter after selling about 28% of the exported gold. Other top exporters of gold include the United Kingdom ($15.6 billion), the United Arab Emirates ($15.8 billion), the United States ($17.7 billion) and Hong Kong ($82.1 billion). The top importers of gold were Switzerland ($82.9 billion), Hong Kong ($29.4 billion), United Arab Emirates ($31.9 billion), China ($62.6 billion) and the United Kingdom ($57.9 billion). Gold is one of the top exports of the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Ghana, Tanzania, Mali and Egypt among other nations.

8. Crude petroleum

Crude petroleum, also referred to as fuel, gasoline, or oil was the eighth most traded commodity in 2016. Oil is one of the top exports of various nations including Colombia, Ecuador, Oman Kazakhstan, Norway and Russia. The top exporters of oil in 2016 were Russia ($73.7 billion), Mexico ($15.5 billion), Kazakhstan ($19.4 billion), Norway ($22.8 billion) and Canada ($39.5 billion). The top importers of oil are South Korea ($44.3 billion), Japan ($50.8 billion), India ($60.7 billion), the United States ($108 billion) and the top importer was China ($116 billion).

9. Telephones

Telephones were the ninth most traded commodity in 2016. It is the top imported product in Hong Kong and the top exported product from Estonia. China is the biggest producer of telephones and thus the leading exporter in 2016 having traded goods worth $84.3 billion. Other top exporters were Mexico ($15.7 billion), South Korea ($16.5 billion), the United States ($23.5 billion) and Hong Kong ($50.9 billion). The United States are the top importers of telephones followed by Hong Kong, China, India and Netherlands.

10. Broadcasting equipment

Broadcasting equipment, also referred to as Bluetooth, radio and television broadcasting, and antenna were the tenth most traded commodities in the world. They are the top import of Rwanda and Macau. China was the top exporter of the broadcasting equipment in 2016 having contributed over 58% of the traded goods. Other top exporters include Germany ($6.42 billion), South Korea ($8.14 billion), the United States ($11.8 billion) and Hong Kong ($23.6 billion). The biggest importers of these commodities include the United Kingdom ($9.7 billion), Germany ($11.9 billion), Japan ($15.2 billion), Hong Kong ($34.5 billion) and the top importer being the United States who bought over 24% of the sold product in 2016.

The Top Traders in 2016

The global leading trading nation in 2016 was China. China exported products worth $2.098 trillion and some of the top shipped goods include computers, broadcasting equipment, car parts, and integrated circuits. The second biggest trader was the United States who exported products worth $1.45 trillion followed by Germany who exported goods worth $1.34 trillion. Japan was the fourth top exporting nation and the Netherlands the fifth after trading good worth $69.71 billion.

10 of the World's Most Traded Goods

RankGoodMarket Value (in billions)
1Cars$1350
2Refined Petroleum$825
3Integrated Circuits $804
4Vehicle Parts$685
5Computers$614
6Pharmaceuticals$613
7Gold$576
8Crude Petroleum$549
9Telephones$510
10Broadcasting Equipment$395

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