Visualizing U.S. Exports & Imports

This is a guest post by Yuka Kato at HowMuch. The post covers imports, exports and trade imbalances between the US and the rest of the world.

by Mish

Visualizing U.S. Exports & Imports

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released its data on U.S. trade in goods by selected countries and world region for 2015. We built three maps to provide a proportional visualization of the trade that occurs between the U.S. and other countries. Exports are represented in green, imports are represented in red, and the balance (exports – imports) is represented by red or green depending on whether the U.S. has exported more or less goods than it has imported. For instance, if a country’s imports exceeds its exports, the country will experience a trade deficit, which represents an outflow of domestic currency to foreign markets. Based on the data, the U.S. exported over $1.5 trillion and imported over $2.2 trillion in goods throughout 2015. This leaves leaves the U.S. with a negative balance of $735 billion!

Countries in red are those for which the US runs a trade deficit (more imports from than exports to). Countries in Green are those for which the US runs a trade surplus (more exports to than imports from).

Largest Balances by Country

Take a look at the top 5 countries with the largest balances (positive and negative):

Top 5 Positive Balances

  • Hong Kong: $30.5 billion
  • Netherlands: $24.0 billion
  • Belgium: $14.6 billion
  • Australia: $14.2 billion
  • Singapore: $10.4 billion

Top 5 Negative Balances

  1. China: $365.7 billion
  2. Germany: $74.2 billion
  3. Japan: $68.6 billion
  4. Mexico: $58.4 billion
  5. Ireland: $30.4 billion

Top 5 Countries for Exports

  1. Canada: $280.3 billion
  2. Mexico: $236.4 billion
  3. China: $116.2 billion
  4. Japan: $62.5 billion
  5. United Kingdom: $56.4 billion

Together the top 5 countries make up about 50% of all U.S. exports.

Top 5 Countries for Imports

  1. China: $481.9 billion
  2. Canada: $295.2 billion
  3. Mexico: $294.7 billion
  4. Japan: $131.1 billion
  5. Germany: $124.1 billion

Together the top 5 countries make up about 59% of all U.S. imports.

Maintaining a Balance in Trade

Looking at the data by area shows that South/Central America, OPEC and Africa are the only regions with positive balances, whereas North America, Europe, and Pacific Rim areas show a negative balance. Interestingly, China, which as a negative balance of $365.7 billion represents ~80% of the negative balance attributed to the Pacific Rim countries and ~50% of the overall negative balance! To put this into perspective, the continent of Europe represents only ~23% of the overall negative balance for selected countries.

End Guest Post – Mish Comments

Top Five U.S. Trading Partners (Imports + Exports)

  1. China $598.1 billion
  2. Canada $575.5 billion
  3. Mexico $531.1 billion
  4. Japan $193.6
  5. Germany $174.0

On a total trade basis, China is the top US trading partner. In terms of exports only, the order is Canada, Mexico, China.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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