Most Valuable Recession-Proof Export Products

Financial meltdown (courtesy of Pixabay)

Financial meltdown (Pixabay)

Among the world’s 250 highest-value exported goods, just 13 posted increases in their international revenues from 2008 to 2009 during the Great Recession. The products highlighted in this article are also potential winners in the much-anticipated slowdown after 10 years of record economic expansion.

All told, the value of all goods exported in 2009 fell to US$12.349 trillion. That dollar amount represents a -22.7% decline from $15.978 trillion in 2008, as the impact from the financial crisis from October 2007 to 2009 sent out global trade aftershocks.

The -22.7% slowdown in export sales compares to the -50.9% drop in the United States’ S&P 500 Index during the severe bear market from 2007 to 2009. The S&P 500 Index measures the stock performance of 500 large companies on American stock exchanges.

But not all exported goods decreased in value during the financial meltdown. The following analysis focuses on products that appreciated in international sales while most other exports notably petroleum products, cars and heavy machinery suffered double-digit losses.

Recession-Resistant Export Products

Listed below are the 13 export products that increased in value from 2008 to 2009. The list is sorted in descending order based on percentage gains during the Great Recession (as shown within parentheses).

  1. Blood fractions including antisera: US$72.4 billion (up 20.8% in 2009 from 2008)
  2. Sugar (cane or beet): $21.5 billion (up 14.4%)
  3. Gold (unwrought): $114.9 billion (up 10.3%)
  4. Unmanufactured tobacco, tobacco waste: $11.3 billion (up 10%)
  5. Cruise/cargo ships, barges: $108.3 billion (up 4.4%)
  6. Heterocyclics, nucleic acids: $53.5 billion (up 4.1%)
  7. Women’s clothing (knit or crochet): $20.9 billion (up 3.5%)
  8. Soya-bean oil-cake, other solid residues: $21.5 billion (up 2.6%)
  9. Orthopedic appliances: $37.6 billion (up 2.3%)
  10. Medication mixes in dosage: $300.9 billion (up 2.2%)
  11. Antibiotics: $12.7 billion (up 1.7%)
  12. Whole fish (frozen): $15.1 billion (up 0.2%)
  13. Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods: $12.5 billion (up 0.04%)

Four top export products improved in attracting international revenues by double-digits namely blood fractions, sugar, gold and tobacco.

Cruise or cargo ships or barges require high-capital and relatively long-term expenditures so might be considered an anomaly. Knitted or crocheted women’s clothing is the only fashion and apparel-related product among the above recession-resistant goods.
 



 

Searchable List of Most Valuable Exports During the Great Recession

Presented below are the 250 top exported goods ranked by those with the highest value in 2009. Also shown is the percentage change in the value of exports for each product from 2008 to 2009.

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

RankProductAmount (US$)2008-9
1. Crude oil$861,687,500,000-41.2%
2. Processed petroleum oils$513,056,843,000-35.2%
3. Cars$436,229,918,000-31.5%
4. Integrated circuits/microassemblies$314,579,620,000-9.5%
5. Medication mixes in dosage$300,936,725,000+2.2%
6. Phone system devices including smartphones$272,614,764,000-12.2%
7. Computers, optical readers$243,178,583,000-11.7%
8. Petroleum gases$225,062,637,000-34.8%
9. Automobile parts/accessories$219,406,355,000-25.9%
10. Computer parts, accessories$120,336,670,000-20.7%
11. Gold (unwrought)$114,901,672,000+10.3%
12. Cruise/cargo ships, barges$108,268,269,000+4.4%
13. TV receivers/monitors/projectors$103,067,109,000-18.4%
14. Printing machinery$97,177,082,000-15.6%
15. Diamonds (unmounted/unset)$83,844,559,000-23.2%
16. Coal, solid fuels made from coal$81,085,191,000-14.4%
17. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$79,568,468,000-14%
18. Aircraft, spacecraft$78,016,574,000-39.2%
19. Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays)$78,001,269,000-3.2%
20. Turbo-jets$74,722,051,000-21.2%
21. Blood fractions (including antisera)$72,396,564,000+20.8%
22. Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools$68,569,908,000-11.2%
23. Electrical converters/power units$68,264,570,000-14.4%
24. Insulated wire/cable$68,189,097,000-28.2%
25. Trucks$67,343,854,000-42.8%
26. Lower-voltage switches, fuses$64,464,889,000-21.9%
27. Miscellaneous furniture$58,813,798,000-17.7%
28. Taps, valves, similar appliances$57,039,209,000-19.4%
29. Iron ores, concentrates$56,389,827,000-14.9%
30. Machinery parts$56,364,573,000-27.3%
31. Rubber tires (new)$54,057,687,000-14.5%
32. TV/radio/radar device parts$53,731,199,000-21.7%
33. Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$53,494,391,000+4.1%
34. Jewelry$50,455,473,000-4.1%
35. Unrecorded sound media$50,114,838,000-16.4%
36. Air or vacuum pumps$49,549,076,000-17.4%
37. Miscellaneous machinery$49,159,883,000-24.6%
38. Ethylene polymers$48,973,740,000-19.1%
39. Refined copper, unwrought alloys$47,179,647,000-13.9%
40. Aircraft parts$46,669,155,000-29.2%
41. Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$45,445,086,000-15.1%
42. Piston engine parts$43,664,830,000-27.9%
43. Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$43,380,957,000-19.4%
44. Liquid pumps and elevators$43,283,354,000-20.3%
45. TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$42,874,046,000-26.1%
46. Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$42,347,472,000-48.6%
47. Miscellaneous plastic items$41,405,437,000-14.5%
48. Footwear (leather)$40,943,910,000-15.1%
49. Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$40,556,666,000-10.5%
50. Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$39,740,742,000-17.2%
51. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$39,447,962,000-16.5%
52. Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$39,440,471,000-16.3%
53. Orthopedic appliances$37,553,335,000+2.3%
54. Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$37,211,205,000-20.4%
55. Table games, bowling equipment$36,400,549,000-19.8%
56. Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$35,585,644,000-14.5%
57. Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$35,035,889,000-24%
58. Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$34,987,109,000-15.6%
59. Chemical industry products/residuals$34,535,720,000-19.2%
60. Engines (diesel)$33,912,769,000-35.7%
61. Electric motors, generators$33,904,709,000-22.1%
62. Temperature-change machines$33,082,739,000-17.1%
63. Soya beans$33,073,377,000-5.8%
64. Aluminum (unwrought)$33,068,376,000-36.4%
65. Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$32,936,139,000-36.3%
66. Cases, handbags, wallets$32,891,037,000-12.1%
67. Electrical energy$32,808,288,000-19.4%
68. Wheat$32,079,778,000-28.4%
69. Refrigerators, freezers$31,799,526,000-21.3%
70. Copper ores, concentrates$31,428,803,000-6.5%
71. T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$31,184,665,000-13.6%
72. Miscellaneous iron or steel items$31,175,021,000-27.7%
73. Printed circuits$30,567,396,000-17.4%
74. Iron or steel scrap$30,288,710,000-41%
75. Cyclic hydrocarbons$30,210,421,000-24.5%
76. Electric water heaters, hair dryers$29,622,978,000-15%
77. Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$29,242,017,000-14.7%
78. Tractors$29,019,589,000-49.2%
79. Coated paper$28,581,472,000-17.5%
80. Piston engines$27,828,992,000-26.2%
81. Physical/chemical analysis tools$27,777,849,000-3.8%
82. Propylene/olefin polymers$27,107,640,000-20.8%
83. Air conditioners$27,023,419,000-22.5%
84. Iron or steel tubes, pipes$26,781,029,000-37.1%
85. Wine:$25,605,371,000-14.5%
86. Electrical machinery$25,009,719,000-15.4%
87. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$24,017,298,000-53.9%
88. Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$23,993,377,000-9.4%
89. Electric storage batteries$23,934,589,000-21.4%
90. Sawn wood$23,738,195,000-23%
91. Swine meat$23,519,969,000-12.3%
92. Palm oil$23,306,851,000-23.1%
93. Platinum (unwrought)$23,206,137,000-33.6%
94. Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches$23,036,208,000-19.9%
95. Cheese, curd$22,987,507,000-15.1%
96. Other food preparations$22,323,390,000-4.8%
97. Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$22,152,395,000-18.8%
98. Regulate/control instruments$22,092,539,000-19.8%
99. Ball, roller bearings$22,026,108,000-28.8%
100. Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates$21,996,972,000-3.4%
101. Other organic cleaning preparations$21,992,416,000-10.1%
102. Uncoated paper for writing/printing$21,958,773,000-15.6%
103. Machinery for making semi-conductors$21,661,564,000-31.2%
104. Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines:$21,651,687,000-20.6%
105. Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$21,545,739,000-5.6%
106. Soya-bean oil-cake, other solid residues$21,533,789,000+2.6%
107. Sugar (cane or beet)$21,451,218,000+14.4%
108. Women's clothing (knit or crochet)$20,937,829,000+3.5%
109. Iron or non-alloy steel products (semi-finished)$20,862,248,000-53.9%
110. Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys$20,777,150,000-12.7%
111. Other measuring/testing machines$20,559,646,000-24.6%
112. Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$20,526,005,000-12.3%
113. Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$20,439,438,000-17.3%
114. Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$20,351,340,000-29.1%
115. Microphones/headphones/amps$20,117,351,000-18.4%
116. Corn$19,995,825,000-26.4%
117. Electric generating sets, converters$19,874,868,000-17.3%
118. Coffee$19,841,502,000-9.5%
119. Tissues, napkins, toilet paper$19,654,699,000-4.8%
120. Cigars/cigarellos, cigarettes$19,540,076,000-5.7%
121. Video recording equipment$19,413,732,000-2.2%
122. Flat-rolled stainless steel items$19,411,482,000-45%
123. Rice$19,213,989,000-9.9%
124. Footwear (rubber or plastic)$19,041,112,000-3.3%
125. Poultry meat$18,937,185,000-9.2%
126. Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$18,920,971,000-36.2%
127. Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$18,854,568,000-27.2%
128. Miscellaneous heterocyclics$18,777,087,000-25%
129. Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms$18,641,411,000-18.3%
130. Base metal mountings, fittings$18,487,021,000-23.8%
131. Electric motor parts$18,475,550,000-8%
132. Lifting/loading machinery$18,297,073,000-26.9%
133. Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$18,196,127,000-5.9%
134. X-ray equipment$18,057,252,000-9.1%
135. Electrical capacitators$17,933,635,000-19.3%
136. Acyclic alcohols$17,930,609,000-35.2%
137. Other diagnostic/lab reagents$17,859,935,000-0.8%
138. Flat-rolled other alloy steel products$17,851,919,000-35.8%
139. Styrene polymers$17,664,014,000-27.2%
140. Synthetic yarn woven fabrics$17,655,056,000-16.9%
141. Sports equipment$17,501,331,000-14.6%
142. Fresh or chilled beef$17,441,410,000-8.7%
143. Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$17,407,791,000-5.7%
144. Light vessels, fire boats, floating docks$17,361,917,000-1.1%
145. Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$16,697,615,000-17%
146. Paper containers, cellulose wadding$16,658,438,000-9.6%
147. Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing$16,592,531,000-6.2%
148. Iron ferroalloys$16,253,717,000-54.7%
149. Printed books, brochures$16,110,300,000-13.1%
150. Nitrogenous fertilizers$16,006,325,000-34.4%
151. Rubber/plastic article making machines$15,955,872,000-33%
152. Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$15,903,214,000-17.6%
153. Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$15,886,422,000-42.8%
154. Filament/discharge lamps$15,834,009,000-14.4%
155. Cellulose fiber paper$15,752,377,000-10.3%
156. Sort/screen/washing machinery$15,442,403,000-29.7%
157. Motorcycles$15,425,482,000-32%
158. Fish fillets, pieces$15,363,801,000-4.1%
159. Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods$15,341,894,000-51.1%
160. Precious metal waste, scrap$15,112,100,000-17.3%
161. Whole fish (frozen)$15,071,111,000+0.2%
162. Wrist/pocket watches (no precious metal case)$15,024,363,000-18.4%
163. Crustaceans (including lobsters)$14,866,006,000-3.3%
164. Vulcanized rubber items$14,818,367,000-20.9%
165. Harvest/threshing machinery$14,658,928,000-25.2%
166. Acyclic hydrocarbons$14,651,771,000-34.2%
167. Linens$14,591,733,000-11.4%
168. Cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$14,490,021,000-36.7%
169. Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers$14,409,800,000-24.5%
170. Pneumatic hand tool$14,391,066,000-28.8%
171. Interchangeable hand/machine tools$14,190,021,000-23.7%
172. Trailers$13,940,489,000-46.1%
173. Derricks, cranes$13,524,456,000-30.1%
174. Synthetic rubber$13,400,077,000-26.5%
175. Iron or steel pipe fittings$13,381,678,000-30.3%
176. Silver (unwrought)$13,287,911,000-16.7%
177. Copper waste, scrap$13,242,442,000-29.2%
178. Telecommunication receivers$13,229,272,000-27.1%
179. Iron and steel tubes, pipes$13,148,604,000-15%
180. Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters$13,077,227,000-18.4%
181. Vinyl chloride polymers$13,014,333,000-24.6%
182. Radar, radio communication items$12,901,628,000-17.8%
183. Self-adhesive plastic in rolls$12,900,141,000-13%
184. Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances$12,788,149,000-23.9%
185. Liquid/gas checking instruments$12,787,673,000-17.6%
186. Moulding boxes/base$12,750,153,000-17.5%
187. Perfumes, toilet waters$12,731,213,000-16.6%
188. Non-alcoholic drinks (not water/juice/milk)$12,707,936,000-11.7%
189. Antibiotics$12,704,633,000+1.7%
190. Fruit and vegetable juices$12,693,723,000-17.2%
191. Copper wire$12,512,068,000-43.4%
192. Polycarboxylic acids$12,481,502,000-21.4%
193. Amino-compounds (oxygen)$12,479,156,000-8%
194. Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods$12,456,000,000+0.04%
195. Other machine parts, accessories$12,325,628,000-36.5%
196. Radioactive chemical elements$12,319,468,000-8.4%
197. Concentrated/sweetened milk, cream$12,198,782,000-32.8%
198. Motorcycle parts/accessories$12,182,738,000-20.3%
199. Electric ignition/start equipment$12,179,247,000-18.9%
200. Public-transport vehicles$12,090,140,000-28.6%
201. Petroleum oil residues$12,067,827,000-26.3%
202. Fertilizer mixes$12,066,891,000-50.7%
203. Special purpose vehicles$12,055,496,000-28.4%
204. Washing machines$12,050,730,000-13.6%
205. Natural rubber$11,905,567,000-40.4%
206. Synthetic filament yarn$11,832,641,000-23.8%
207. Miscellaneous meat (preserved/prepared)$11,765,906,000-8.3%
208. Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)$11,694,883,000-13.9%
209. Whole fish (fresh)$11,622,930,000-0.2%
210. Iron or non-alloy steel angles, shapes, sections$11,585,795,000-53.4%
211. Frozen beef$11,543,032,000-13.7%
212. Flour/meal/starch/malt extract food preparations$11,400,358,000-5.2%
213. Men's shirts (not knit or crochet)$11,397,518,000-13.5%
214. Woven cotton fabrics$11,304,605,000-16.4%
215. Aluminum bars/rods$11,302,952,000-26.9%
216. Unmanufactured tobacco, tobacco waste$11,261,706,000+10%
217. Wood carpentry, builders' joinery$11,062,941,000-22.2%
218. Paint/varnish non-aqueous solution$11,044,941,000-17.8%
219. Sound reproducing/recording parts, accessories$10,883,782,000-28%
220. Miscellaneous engines, motors$10,802,151,000-27.3%
221. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)$10,797,030,000-25.3%
222. Yachts, other pleasure/sports vessels$10,792,186,000-39.1%
223. Other than warp-knit fabrics$10,790,720,000-11.3%
224. Miscellaneous aluminum items$10,694,732,000-27.2%
225. Miscellaneous printed matter including photos$10,597,568,000-17.5%
226. Malt beer$10,492,115,000-6.1%
227. Move/grade/scrape/boring machinery$10,459,071,000-26.9%
228. Hydraulic cements$10,441,709,000-10%
229. Mattresses, quilts$10,347,825,000-8.6%
230. Footwear (textile)$10,314,154,000-0.6%
231. Potassic fertilizers$10,279,854,000-47.6%
232. Stockings, hosiery (knit or crochet)$10,271,311,000-9.3%
233. Hand-drawn paintings, drawings$10,267,633,000-30.5%
234. Fresh or dried citrus fruit$10,249,742,000-2.2%
235. Women's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)$10,078,829,000-12.2%
236. Hair preparations$10,064,764,000-0.2%
237. Hydrogen, rare gases$9,998,389,000-26.7%
238. Miscellaneous fresh/chilled vegetables$9,996,179,000-1.2%
239. Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)$9,981,808,000-10.5%
240. Chemicals used in electronics$9,963,106,000-29.6%
241. Ethers$9,820,696,000-17.5%
242. Coated/laminated non-wovens$9,742,879,000-13.4%
243. Synthetic organic coloring$9,682,883,000-20.4%
244. Rough wood$9,677,818,000-29.1%
245. Aluminum oxide/hydroxide$9,616,963,000-39.1%
246. Laminated wood (including plywood, veneer panels)$9,593,415,000-28.5%
247. Glazed ceramic tiles, cubes$9,535,446,000-16.9%
248. Plastic tableware, kitchenware, toiletry$9,483,748,000-10.2%
249. Nickel (unwrought)$9,337,313,000-34.7%
250. Monument/building stones, art$9,309,331,000-14.9%

To browse winning or losing products by percentage gains or losses from 2008 to 2009, please click on the column heading titled “2008-9”.

See also Riskiest Export Products for Severe Recession Losses, Great Recession International Trade Losses by Country and World’s Richest Export Countries

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 12, 2019

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 12, 2019

Wikipedia, Financial crisis of 2007-2008. Accessed on August 12, 2019

Wikipedia, Great Recession. Accessed on August 12, 2019