Saturday, April 30, 2016

What do you make of it?

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Automotive is the dominant motive for manufacture, even if there are more manufacturers producing items under the general heading 'engineering, various'

Electronics, as to be expected, is also a large field of endeavour. There are sixteen automotive giants and two making ancillary 'automotive components', twenty three 'engineering, various' and seventeen electronic.
Nine companies producing pharmaceuticals and nine chemicals, while ten ubercompanies make steel and ten something they can label 'food & beverages'. Five companies have hitched their wagon to 'aerospace & defence' with a couple more in just 'defence', four hook us up with telecommunications equipment, three make sure we've got new tyres, two tobacco while the rest are designated consumer goods, consumer durables, personal care products, hospital equipmentconstruction equipment, building materials, metals, aluminium and luxury goods.

A puzzling category is 'investment' as that sounds like a tertiary activity; in the same vein as banking. The Italian Exor are twelfth largest manufacturer and list under this category so what is their activity?

Some single categories are so because one company has a monopoly. A case in point is Johnson & Johnson.
The Body Shop are almost bottom feeders by comparison.

Friday, April 29, 2016


Japan makes the most stuff or gets the most for it. They are level pegging with the United States; 29 companies producing more than 25 billion dollars worth of goods in Japan and 30 in the US.

Good old worldbeater China has nineteen companies, Germany has ten, France eight and South Korea six. Switzerland, Netherlands and United Kingdom have three companies making cars and computers - to cite popular categories. Taiwan, Luxembourg, Sweden, India and Canada all have two manufacturing giants while Italy, Finland, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Belgium, Brazil and Ireland have one apiece.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Largest manufacturing companies by revenue

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  1. Toyota
  2. Volkswagen Group
  3. Samsung Electronics
  4. Daimler
  5. General Electric
  6. General Motors
  7. Ford
  8. Hewlett-Packard
  9. Hitachi
  10. Nissan
  11. Hon Hai Precision Industry
  12. Exor
  13. Siemens
  14. Apple
  15. IBM
  16. Cardinal Health
  17. BASF
  18. Honda

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Oiled up, gassed up, not watered down but well aired/With all the precious metals oh and phosphate

Image result for persian gulf

The largest cluster of giant oil and gas fields are in the Persian Gulf and the Western Siberian Basin.

The most potable water can be found in Brazil or, to phrase it like the source, Brazil heads the ten largest renewable fresh water countries

The most arable land is the United States of America

The largest coal mines in the world are the North Antelope Rochelle Mine and Black Thunder Mine, both in the United States.

The country with the cleanest air is Iceland

Countries producing the most timber are either 'United States, India and China' or 'United States, Russia and Canada' depending on who you consult (presumably in the pages of pulped wood) but USA has got wood either way

The largest gold producing country is currently China but for many years it was South Africa.

Mexico is the world's largest silver producer

Australia is the biggest iron ore producer

Chile rolls the copper out

Kazakhstan replaced Canada as the largest uranium producer in the world while China reconfirms its giant status by producing far more phosphate in 2015 than any other country. It has the second-largest phosphate supply after Morocco and the Western Sahara

Thursday, April 21, 2016

It's only Natural

Like our agriculture and horticultural products, scarcity and control along with damage and depletion tell the story of our impact on what we term 'natural resources'. To the mix we add water, air and soil.

The BBC tells us that worrying about when a resource is likely to run out is the wrong approach. This in an article that tells us some of the rarer minerals, used in common devices, could be depleted in as little as twenty years.

Monday, April 18, 2016

All the Resources at our disposal

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Run out of staples

The list of largest crops is not the same as the list of staples because the biggest crop is sugar cane, which has other applications besides rotting your teeth. While China grows a lot of all the major crops - appearing second or third where it does not dominate - and now produces the most potatoes, Brazil harvests the most sugar cane.

Agriculture is hardly less problematic than other industries, despite its ability to feed the world: there is now a sugar tax in the United Kingdom, in recognition of its harmful effects; Indonesia's cash crop is responsible for clearing forests and wheat may grow on land everywhere but it is no good to coeliacs and there is a growing market in gluten-free products. Only raise the spectre of the Irish potato famine to realise the vulnerability of potato farmers concentrating on one variety. The size and taste that makes it ideal for french fries still makes it a target for pests.

The popularity of a vegetable waxes and wanes if you are growing fad foods. It's too soon to tell if quianoa has the staying power of the sweet potato or will achieve the scale of maize or rice.

Turkey is strictly a thanksgiving thing according to one source, listing it as the least popular meat. ABC National's Country Breakfast informs us that chicken went from the least popular meat in the 1940's to "the kingmaker of today"

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Crops up

There are other crops that are either grown based on demand or on the ability of the plant to thrive in those conditions. For the growers, there is a balance between what can return a yield reliably and what the buying public are after - whether local or far overseas. How many uses, and in what volume. I'll pick the vegetables that have received mention on these lists:

Grown and mown

In reality, no survey of farmers, horticulturalists, ranchers and the like is going to exclude the most populous breeds of farm animal:

  1. Cattle  India has 301,601,000
  2. Sheep  China has the most sheep (187 million) but Australia and New Zealand dominate the market for lamb and wool 
  3. Pigs  China has 446,422,605 pigs; more than all the other pork-producing nations put together
  4. Chickens  China has 4,602,278.000
  5. Ducks  China 1,046,463.000


If I am to understand Investopedia correctly, these are the agricultural staples. I am not convinced that I would buy corn from the US or rice from Thailand just because they had invested in their primary industry to this degree. I'm sure there are soy and corn (and wheat) products aplenty from the US despite our ability to grow our own wheat perfectly well. Even in marginal country.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Export rate sure

What is to remark on these figures? The same countries are large importers and exporters; India is the sixteenth largest exporter with $329,000,000,000 in exports while Canada sits just outside the top ten (or inside if one counts Hong Kong as a colony of China) with a tidy $428.300.000,000

Netherlands is actually among the top ten importers as I accidentally swapped them with Canada; $488,800,000,000. But Canada still appears if, again, you discount Hong Kong.

They are also the wealthiest countries, buy and large, although only Hong Kong appears among the GDP per capita nations so perhaps one should be careful before excluding such a powerhouse from the equation. I bet the UK were spitting chips at handover.
In terms of pure GDP, there are a few names missing off the list: Russia, Brazil and Indonesia. Do they service their own market economy or what's their story? Well Russia imports a none-too-shabby $323,900,000,000 in goods and exports even more - $337,800,000,000
Six other countries keep them from the list of top importers and only three from the mightiest exporters

Taiwan, United Arab Emirates and Australia separate it from Brazil in terms of imports and those countries and more when it comes to exports.

Indonesia is a good exemplar for demonstrating that raw GDP is not the same as a powerful trading balance, though it is still far greater than many. Of particular interest is the way in which its import and export figures match - $178,600,000,000 and $179,400,000,000 respectively.

Qatar, the richest country as determined by GDP per capita, and most efficient workforce,  exports $ in stuff and imports $30,700,000,000
so while the US's and Chinas of this world lead us to suspect that having healthy appetites and a good output are what keeps them at the top of the food chain, Qatar is that quiet kid in the corner who makes the continual point that selling more than you purchase is the road to prosperity

I'm going to make an early bet that Switzerland alone of  all the countries with stunning inflation rates - in the minus, in fact - is a sizable importer and exporter (and with ninth highest GDP per capita). I think Zimbabwe and El Salvador, for example, are far less likely to perform in the trading stakes.
I can collect because Zimbabwe exports $3,144,000,000 and imports $3,607,000,000; El Salvador imports $9,912,000,000 and exports $5,122,000,000. While Zimbabe imports half a billion more than it exports and El Salvador tips right over by importing nearly twice what it ships out, Switzerland sits at a comfortable $327,500,000,000 in exports, placing it at a respectable seventeenth, well above theirs which hover down in the low hundredths. Switzerland imports $388.800,000,000 worth of products, exceeding its exports by sixty billion but doing so from a higher point than the other countries. Sixteenth highest importer makes them, like Zimbabwe and Indonesia, very similar in the size of their imports and exports. There is a balance at work not present in El Salvador and Zimbabwe's tallies, leading us to reaffirm the need to view inflation rates by comparison to their base and how recent and extensive the change.


A trading bloc, not a single country, European Union has $2,312,000,000,000 in imports and $2,259,000,000,000 in exports. This is enormous, naturally enough, but still not as much as the United States imports or China exports.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Exports for ex-pats, Imports in port

Biggest importers

  1. United States of America  $2,380,000,000,000
  2. China  $1,960,000,000,000
  3. Germany  $1,319,000,000,000
  4. Japan  $811,900,000,000
  5. United Kingdom  $686,000,000,000
  6. France  $644,000,000,000
  7. Hong Kong  $560,000,000,000
  8. South Korea  $542,900,000,000
  9. India  $508,100,000,000
  10. Canada  $482,100,000,000

Biggest exporters

  1. China    $2,270,000,000,000
  2. United States of America  $1,598,000,000,000
  3. Germany  $1,292,000,000,000
  4. Japan  $624,000,000,000
  5. South Korea  $535,500,000,000
  6. France  $509,100,000,000
  7. Hong Kong  $499,400,000,000
  8. Netherlands  $488,300,000,000
  9. Italy  $454,600,000.000
  10. United Kingdom  $442,000,000.000  
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