Great Recession International Trade Losses by Country

Bear market (courtesy of Pixabay.com)

Bear market (Pixabay.com)

Consistent with the grim storm clouds cast by the Great Recession from October 2007 to 2009, the vast majority of countries suffered serious reductions in their export sales over that same period. The value of products exported from all countries in 2009 fell to US$12.349 trillion, down -22.7% from $15.978 trillion in 2008 following the financial crisis.

Only 16 countries out of enjoyed increasing export sales from 2008 to 2009 during the Great Recession. Even at that, those winners are relatively small exporters selling just US$67 billion or about one-half of one percent (0.54%) of total global exports by value in 2009.

Listed below are the 16 countries experiencing year-over-year increases despite the accelerating worldwide financial meltdown, with percentage gains shown within parentheses.

  1. Lesotho: US$628.1 million (up 156.7% in 2009 from 2008)
  2. Burkina Faso: $787.7 million (up 65.8%)
  3. Malawi: $1.2 billion (up 35.1%)
  4. Zimbabwe: $2.3 billion (up 33.9%)
  5. Ghana: $5.1 billion (up 33.1%)
  6. New Caledonia: $2.1 billion (up 27.6%)
  7. Namibia: $5.9 billion (up 24.1%)
  8. Cambodia: $5 billion (up 14.5%)
  9. Togo: $640.2 million (up 13.8%)
  10. Panama: $10.7 billion (up 9.2%)
  11. Ivory Coast: $10.3 billion (up 5.1%)
  12. Suriname: $1.4 billion (up 3.1%)
  13. Ethiopia: $1.6 billion (up 1%)
  14. Benin: $425.3 million (up 1%)
  15. Bangladesh: $15.6 billion (up 0.3%)
  16. Lebanon: $3.5 billion (up 0.2%)

Note that 10 of the above winners are African countries.

By far eclipsing the rosy results for the listed anomalies, most countries experienced severe slowdowns in their sales on international markets. The following analysis focuses on export setbacks by country during the global financial system crisis.

Biggest Losing Export Countries from Great Recession

Listed below are the 25 exporters that posted the biggest losses from 2008 to 2009. The list is sorted in ascending order based on percentage losses during the Great Recession (as shown within parentheses).

  1. Turkmenistan: US$2.7 billion (down -71.8% in 2009 compared to 2008)
  2. Azerbaijan: $14.7 billion (down -69.2%)
  3. Marshall Islands: $787.4 million (down -52%)
  4. Macao: $960.7 million (down -51.9%)
  5. Trinidad/Tobago: $9.1 billion (down -51.1%)
  6. Jamaica: $1.3 billion (down -46%)
  7. Nicaragua: $1.4 billion (down -45.1%)
  8. Gabon: $5.5 billion (down -43.5%)
  9. Algeria: $45.2 billion (down -43%)
  10. Equatorial Guinea: $9.2 billion (down -42.9%)
  11. Chad: $2.3 billion (down -41.4%)
  12. Ukraine: $39.7 billion (down -40.7%)
  13. Kuwait: $52 billion (down -40.6%)
  14. Kazakhstan: $43.2 billion (down -39.3%)
  15. Libya: $27.3 billion (down -39%)
  16. Nigeria: $49.9 billion (down -39%)
  17. Niger: $628 million (down -38.8%)
  18. Saudi Arabia: $191.8 billion (down -38.7%)
  19. Montenegro: $387.5 million (down -37.2%)
  20. Bahrain: $8.4 billion (down -35.9%)
  21. Russia: $301.8 billion (down -35.5%)
  22. Armenia: $684 million (down -35.2%)
  23. Finland: $62.9 billion (down -35.1%)
  24. Belarus: $21.3 billion (down -34.6%)
  25. Madagascar: $1.1 billion (down -34.3%)

Many of the above export countries are highly dependent on petroleum oil or gas shipments including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Russia. Generally, the volume of energy-related exports typically shrinks during an economic contraction.
 



 

Searchable List of Great Recession Export Performance

Presented below are the 150 top export countries ranked by those with the highest total international sales in 2009. Also shown is the percentage change in the value of exports for each country from 2008 to 2009.

You can change the presentation order by clicking the triangle icons at the top of the columns.

RankCountryAmount (US$)Ch2008-9
1. China$1,201,646,800,000-16%
2. Germany$1,127,839,900,000-23.1%
3. United States$1,056,712,100,000-18.7%
4. Japan$580,718,734,000-25.7%
5. France$464,112,811,000-21.9%
6. Netherlands$431,502,452,000-20.9%
7. Italy$406,479,127,000-25%
8. Belgium$370,879,194,000-21.4%
9. South Korea$363,531,063,000-13.9%
10. United Kingdom$359,615,540,000-25.4%
11. Hong Kong$329,421,935,000-11%
12. Canada$315,176,831,000-30.8%
13. Russia$301,796,059,000-35.5%
14. Singapore$271,079,918,000-20.5%
15. Mexico$229,712,337,000-21.1%
16. Spain$223,132,208,000-20.1%
17. Taiwan$203,498,546,000-20.2%
18. Saudi Arabia$191,810,273,000-38.7%
19. India$176,765,036,000-2.8%
20. Switzerland$172,702,655,000-13.9%
21. Malaysia$157,194,832,000-20.9%
22. Australia$153,899,576,000-17.6%
23. Brazil$152,994,743,000-22.7%
24. Thailand$152,497,203,000-14.1%
25. Poland$136,641,305,000-20.5%
26. Austria$131,387,248,000-23.7%
27. Sweden$131,116,175,000-28.7%
28. Ireland$116,894,674,000-8%
29. Indonesia$116,509,992,000-15%
30. Norway$114,675,480,000-33.8%
31. Czech Republic$112,884,321,000-22.7%
32. Turkey$102,142,613,000-22.6%
33. Denmark$92,090,687,000-20.8%
34. Hungary$82,571,847,000-23.7%
35. Iran$77,575,221,000-27.7%
36. Finland$62,860,483,000-35.1%
37. Vietnam$57,096,274,000-8.9%
38. Venezuela$56,583,100,000-32.2%
39. Argentina$55,672,119,000-20.5%
40. Slovakia$55,553,022,000-20.9%
41. Chile$55,458,960,000-14%
42. South Africa$53,863,892,000-27.2%
43. Kuwait$51,959,754,000-40.6%
44. Nigeria$49,937,460,000-39%
45. Qatar$48,007,107,000-28.7%
46. Israel$47,934,614,000-21.9%
47. Algeria$45,193,920,000-43%
48. Portugal$44,249,980,000-22.7%
49. Kazakhstan$43,195,762,000-39.3%
50. Angola$40,639,412,000-8%
51. Romania$40,620,890,000-18%
52. Ukraine$39,695,648,000-40.7%
53. Philippines$38,435,802,000-21.7%
54. Colombia$32,852,986,000-12.7%
55. Oman$27,650,631,000-26.7%
56. Libya$27,255,515,000-39%
57. Peru$26,738,260,000-14.5%
58. New Zealand$24,932,601,000-18.5%
59. Greece$24,236,625,000-22.1%
60. Egypt$24,182,270,000-6.9%
61. Slovenia$22,405,415,000-23.4%
62. Belarus$21,304,173,000-34.6%
63. Pakistan$17,554,698,000-13.4%
64. Bulgaria$16,502,520,000-26.6%
65. Lithuania$16,496,339,000-30.6%
66. Bangladesh$15,558,634,000+0.3%
67. Azerbaijan$14,688,728,000-69.2%
68. Tunisia$14,445,136,000-25.2%
69. Morocco$14,068,940,000-30.7%
70. Ecuador$13,863,050,000-26.3%
71. Luxembourg$12,542,133,000-27.8%
72. Panama$10,716,687,000+9.2%
73. Croatia$10,491,835,000-25.7%
74. Estonia$10,445,840,000-23.8%
75. Ivory Coast$10,280,077,000+5.1%
76. Syrian Arab Republic$9,693,797,000-32.6%
77. Equatorial Guinea$9,179,086,000-42.9%
78. Trinidad/Tobago$9,125,971,000-51.1%
79. Costa Rica$8,836,345,000-9.3%
80. Bahrain$8,384,000,000-35.9%
81. Serbia$8,345,076,000-23.9%
82. Congo$8,194,624,000-11.1%
83. Guatemala$7,208,586,000-6.8%
84. Latvia$7,171,470,000-22.7%
85. Brunei Darussalam$7,171,066,000-32.2%
86. Sri Lanka$7,121,491,000-12.9%
87. Jordan$6,365,744,000-18.2%
88. Yemen$6,258,955,000-17.5%
89. Namibia$5,870,620,000+24.1%
90. Uzbekistan$5,821,133,000-32.9%
91. Gabon$5,457,903,000-43.5%
92. Uruguay$5,404,763,000-9%
93. Bolivia$5,296,740,000-23.2%
94. Paraguay$5,079,610,000-20.7%
95. Ghana$5,070,533,000+33.1%
96. Cambodia$4,992,010,000+14.5%
97. Kenya$4,463,443,000-10.7%
98. Dominican Republic$4,374,408,000-31.9%
99. Zambia$4,312,055,000-15.4%
100. Iceland$4,056,962,000-24.2%
101. Bosnia/Herzegovina$3,953,920,000-21.3%
102. El Salvador$3,866,080,000-16.7%
103. Lebanon$3,484,155,000+0.2%
104. Botswana$3,455,712,000-30.2%
105. Tanzania$2,982,405,000-4.4%
106. Democr. Rep. Congo$2,792,968,000-25.5%
107. North Macedonia$2,691,528,000-19.8%
108. Turkmenistan$2,675,789,000-71.8%
109. Honduras$2,595,325,000-16.5%
110. Cuba$2,344,210,000-26.2%
111. Chad$2,298,554,000-41.4%
112. Malta$2,280,269,000-24.7%
113. Zimbabwe$2,268,898,000+33.9%
114. Mozambique$2,147,169,000-19.1%
115. New Caledonia$2,082,815,000+27.6%
116. Senegal$2,017,386,000-7.1%
117. Mauritius$1,765,792,000-26.5%
118. Cameroon$1,732,408,000-18.5%
119. Ethiopia$1,618,166,000+1%
120. Uganda$1,567,614,000-9.1%
121. North Korea$1,489,554,000-33.1%
122. Suriname$1,401,839,000+3.1%
123. Nicaragua$1,393,054,000-45.1%
124. Cyprus$1,350,949,000-21.1%
125. Jamaica$1,316,037,000-46%
126. Guinea$1,299,353,000-9.2%
127. Moldova$1,282,981,000-19.4%
128. Malawi$1,187,917,000+35.1%
129. Kyrgyzstan$1,178,274,000-27.2%
130. Mauritania$1,164,530,000-28.4%
131. Georgia$1,133,629,000-24.3%
132. Madagascar$1,095,898,000-34.3%
133. Albania$1,087,915,000-19.7%
134. Macao$960,686,000-51.9%
135. Guyana$788,385,000-5%
136. Burkina Faso$787,700,000+65.8%
137. Marshall Islands$787,421,000-52%
138. Faroe Islands$761,744,000-10.6%
139. Armenia$683,989,000-35.2%
140. Togo$640,154,000+13.8%
141. Fiji$628,675,000-31.8%
142. Lesotho$628,128,000+156.7%
143. Niger$628,012,000-38.8%
144. Bahamas$584,879,000-16.6%
145. Palestine$518,355,000-7.2%
146. Bhutan$495,846,000-4.9%
147. Benin$425,348,000+1%
148. Afghanistan$403,441,000-25.3%
149. Montenegro$387,540,000-37.2%
150. Greenland$371,560,000-24.2%

To browse the 134 losing and 16 winning export countries by percentage gains or losses, please click on the column heading titled “2008-9”.

Buried in these statistics is one key takeaway for this article. Specifically, India was the one superpower that registered a relatedly modest loss in its exports during the Great Recession down -2.8% year over year. This compares to the -16% slowdown for China and the -18.7% reduction for the United States.

See also Most Valuable Recession-Proof Export Products, World’s Richest Export Countries, China’s Top Trading Partners and Top United States Trade Balances

Research Sources:
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Why Was the Decline in U.S. Trade Larger This Time? A Global View. Accessed on August 13, 2019

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 13, 2019

Wikipedia, Financial crisis of 2007-2008. Accessed on August 13, 2019

Wikipedia, Great Recession. Accessed on August 12, 2019