What sort of images does your mind conjure when you think of New Zealand?
Milford Sound? Bungee jumping in Queenstown? Or tourists pottering around Hobbiton, once home to Bilbo Baggins?
All good guesses, but what really makes this antipodean nation tick is condensed milk – the country’s largest export, making up 13.3 per cent of the value of total outgoing goods.
If you think that’s surprising, try the same for Nepal: Everest, prayer flags and mountain shrines spring to mind. Nepal’s predominant export, however, is flavoured water, accounting for 9 per cent of its global trade.
At a glance | The world’s most peculiar top exporters
- Bahamas – passenger and cargo ships (38.9% of total exports)
- Central African Republic – delivery trucks (26.3%)
- Djibouti – sheep and goats (22%)
- Fiji – water (12.4%)
- Moldova – insulated wire (10.1%)
- Pakistan – house linens (11.4%)
- Solomon Islands – rough wood (73.3%)
- Thailand – computers (7.9%)
So what of other peculiar major exports around the world? Thanks to data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity, crunched by VoucherCloud, we can reveal that Barbados ships a whole lot of hard liquor, the Maldives relies on its best-selling fish fillets and Cambodia’s top product is knitted sweaters.
And then there’s our personal favourite – that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s largest export is seats. Yep, seats, accounting for 5.3 per cent of its total trade.
Which countries have all their eggs in one basket?
Four countries boast an export which accounts for more than 90 per cent of their total outgoing trade – and three of these exports are fuel.
Iraq (98.4 per cent), Timor-Leste (92.5 per cent) and Angola (91.4 per cent) all ship huge volumes of crude petroleum, while Kiribati’s export market is 90.4 per cent frozen fish.
- Iraq – 98.4% crude petroleum exports
- Timor-Leste – 92.5% crude petroleum
- Angola – 91.4% crude petroleum
- Kiribati – 90.4% frozen fish
- Eritrea – 89.9% copper ore
- Azerbaijan – 85.5% crude petroleum
- Guinea-Bissau – 84.2% coconuts, brazil nuts and cashews
- Turkmenistan – 80.2% petroleum gas
- Tuvalu – 79.6% tug boats
- Nigeria – 77.2% crude petroleum
Indeed, when it comes to fuel, as many as 50 out of the 187 with available data had either crude or refined petroleum as their largest export.
What about the UK, and elsewhere?
The UK’s largest export, according to the data, is refined gold, accounting for 9.8 per cent of the total, while the US relies on refined petroleum to the tune of 4.9 per cent of its exports.
France has an aircraft industry accounting for 10.1 per cent of its total exports value.
Imports is a little less exciting as the majority of the world’s nations buy in fuel – 97 countries have fuel as their largest import, with 18 accepting crude petroleum and 74 refined petroleum.
The next key import market is transportation, which accounts for the top purchases of 54 countries, including cars for the likes of the US and UK.
Elsewhere, Somalia makes a hefty vegetable order each year, accounting for 21.3 per cent of its imports, while Cuba and Grenada purchase plenty of poultry. More than 10 per cent of Central African Republic’s imports is military weapons.
What is each country best known for?
On a map created last year, designer David McCandless plotted what each of the world’s nations was “number one” for, according to a variety of sources, with some interesting results.
Among the most intriguing were links between Lithuania and Wi-Fi; Uganda and entrepreneurs; and Hungary – pornstars.
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