Stunning Visualization Of The Flow Of International Trade

Tyler Durden's picture

The interactive visualization you see in this post was created by data visualization expert Max Galka from the Metrocosm blog. (Also check out his new project, Blueshift, which allows users to upload data and visualize it on maps with no coding required.)

Trade is an essential part of economic prosperity, but, as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins asks, how much do you know about global trade?

The stunning visualization below helps to map international trade on a 3D globe, plotting the exchange of goods between countries. It enables the abstract concept of trade to become more tactile, and at the same time the visuals make it easier to absorb information.

Click here for full interactive chart, enabling users to select a country to see its share of trade alone, or spin/navigate the globe by using your mouse.


The great thing about interactive maps is that they allow you to take control.

Here are a few things we found particularly interesting, as we scanned through the map:

  • When looking at the globe as a whole, trade is concentrated into obvious hubs. The United States, Europe, and China/Japan are the most evident ones, and they are all lit up with color.
  • There are also obvious have-nots. Take a look at most of the countries in Africa, or click on an individual country like North Korea to see a lack of international trade.
  • In fact, North Korea is completely vacuous, except for one lonely dot floating to China every so often. After taking a quick look at the data, it seems China takes in over 60% of North Korea’s exports, which are mostly raw materials such as coal, iron ore, or pig iron.
  • Now click on South Korea, and the situation is completely different. By the way, South Korea exports $583 billion of goods per year, while the hermit nation does just $3.1 billion per year.
  • This map also shows how dependent some countries are on others for trade. Look at Canada, a country that sends close to 75% of its exports to the United States. Mexico has a similar situation, where it does most of its business with the U.S. as well.
  • This is a stark contrast to Cuba, which doesn’t trade enough with any one partner to have it visualized on this scale at all. Cuba has exports of only $1.7 billion, and its largest trading partner is China, which only takes in $311 million of goods per year.

Want to see more on international trade? Check out this set of maps that shows China’s rising dominance in trade, or the flow of oil around the world.

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38BWD22's picture



Oh, excellent article & graphic for me!  Thanks, Tylers.

Now I'll search to ID the bearings flow from Korea to Peru...



EDIT: Ah, of course, those little occasional steel-gray ones...

Aging Skeptic's picture

They forgot to list our two main exports:  pop culture and freedom

The central planners's picture

If that counted as a commodity the middle east would have a disgusting trade deficit with US and Israel.

beemasters's picture

The CIA drug trade isn't shown???

schoolsout's picture

I'd love to see something with more definition and actual trade routes going to the different ports

Mr Pink's picture

Hmmm....notice how there aren't any east to west flights across the southern hemisphere

ebworthen's picture

Pig iron, nothing better than pig iron, and fresh Chicharrones.

hxc's picture

Never knew chicharrones could be fresh, but they are fucking bomb. Gotta get the real stuff and not the fake (wheat) kind.

Kefeer's picture

What was striking (not really) was that which is north of Africa, you know the middle-eastern desert, and the flow of arms producing much trade activity. 

Curiously_Crazy's picture

Am I the only one who replayed the video about 10 times to get a sense of what was going where? (apart from the major players that stand out like dogs balls I mean).

The bloke should have it on a loop for a few minutes at least I reckon.

AssN9's picture

From what I could see Oz has room to improve, particularly when gold is revalued.

TheAnswerIs42's picture

And then there is always EARTH.

This was the Jet stream layer.

Click on the Earth logo to select more data.

Remember you are looking at models.

Impressive none the less.


Xena fobe's picture

Very nice.  I would love to see one of these for currencies. PMs, treasuries, ETFs in real time. 

old naughty's picture

ummmm, what about WMD, convestional ones, humans (and non-)?

and then there are paintings, songs, artifacts...

still not matched to jetstreams...


edifice's picture

Shouldn't everything be eminating from China?

CPL's picture

It is.  Looks like a huge foundation filling a bunch of tiny cups.  Just watch asia as it rolls by.

jewish_master's picture

look at germany lol. germany is europ

IronForge's picture

Those Lights trace the Veins which attract the Vampire Squids of the World.

I Write Code's picture

I think you drudged their site, ... I'll go back later to see.

brown_hornet's picture

Pretty dark south of the equator.

Sorry_about_Dresden's picture

I would like to see the flow denomivnated in US Tresyry Securities. Have distinct colors to differentiate oil trade, arms trade, agriculture. 

This graphic just shows the churn of $20 trillion in UST debt being churned to kepp the ponzi going.

This should be the context in simpler terms.

The Khazar Jane Felon bux of the Feral Reserve.

Allen_H's picture

The model is wrong, it should be on a disc, this will also make it easier to see what is going on. But, despite that, does not look like much happening on the USSA, I could not see Russia, too high up on the fake globe.

EDIT: Okay, clicking on the link helped, it looks like nothing going on in Russia, very little, but Russia is getting more self sufficient, and does not want filthy western terrorist goods, so this is understandable.

Benjamin123's picture

Self-sufficiency is often an euphemism for not letting the locals trade.

Forbidden to purchase, forbidden to sell. If you do, its at absurd prices. You can only sell within your country but have to compete against the patriotic oligarchs who can import and move goods at will with no tax.

I was once put in that situation. In "self-sufficiency" mode you are simply cut off from both suppliers and customers. Your customers are also cut off from their own suppliers and customers. Everything simply stops, because no goods are ever 100% locally sourced.

If such a situation were to remain in place forever and no people nor goods could cross the borders at all, eventually self sufficiency would be the result. But the borders are porous so goods and people do move in and out, always at a great risk and expense not shared by the patriotic oligarchs. Its far easier to percolate oneself through the border and live freely as a foreigner.

Best examples are Cuba and North Korea. North Korea exports a bit of coal to keep the army funded, nothing else gets done, while Cuba lets europeans and canadian tourists also to keep their army funded. Again, nothing else gets done. People are meant to rot inside their hovels and be grateful for the "free" 1200 calories they get as daily rations.

Were North Korea or Cuba ever to be 100% cut off from trade their would become self sufficient and capitalist. Their armies would be unable to produce their own weapons and vehicles without allowing the internal development of all sorts of industries. Right now, they can simply import all they need to stay in power without barely needing any development out of a couple of export industries.

Allen_H's picture

Yes, I understand what you are saying, but when the goods from foreign countries are tainted with poisons to kill local as well as foreign buyers, when the software is infested with malware, spying and all sorts of evils. When the parts to military becomes impossible to get because now they view you as an enemy, or worse, a challenge. Then one is left with no choice but to start your own research and development.

As well, when you know the systems you are dealing with are totally corrupt, being done by the Globalists and Rothschilds, izraHELL, etc. Are you to just sit back and take shit from them. No, the best way foreword is creating your own internal markets. This does not mean you trying to kill your own people, they would be needed to run the place. So the best a country could hope for is a good leader with a genuine love for his country, with their interests at heart. You will not find this in the Western Axis of jew led Evil, never. But in the east, there is more of a chance, as they are opening their eyes to all around them.


Benjamin123's picture

Developing some key military sectors and producing food is not the same as "self sufficieny".

My experience with self sufficiency was that of farmers getting kicked out of their farms and idle farm machinery "cause no spare parts".

Some food was imported from "ally" nations such as Brazil and Argentina through no-bid contracts granted by colonels, always at inflated prices and left to rot at the ports.

Your idea doesnt work because you cannot find those elusive leaders that love their people. To begin with, it cannot be just one guy, you need a whole state bureocracy that "loves people". 

Guys like Putin are popular because they are not trying to genocide their own people. Thats the best you can find in "state love" nowdays, governments that do not actively try to kill you.

I bet not even Kim tries to kill his own people, the body surely can adapt to 1200 calories a day.

Allen_H's picture

Okay, you stuck on self sufficiency and cannot get past this term, then you just ignore all underlying information which is a cause of the problem, as well as a thing called sanctions, which you choose to ignore. And which also drives local markets. No use speaking to you, seriously, I do not know what your game is, but I am not playing it. I know the causes, just like most here, you seem to have some block, is it shekels clouding your brain? With a name like Benjamin ! Fuck, says is all.


Benjamin123's picture

May i quote you? I am the one stuck on self sufficiency? 

Quote> EDIT: Okay, clicking on the link helped, it looks like nothing going on in Russia, very little, but Russia is getting more self sufficient, and does not want filthy western terrorist goods, so this is understandable.

You have ideological blinders. See, i actually lived in a place that paid lip service to the concept of fighting the NWO and self sufficiency. Nothing got done but the loving rulers got rich and moved to New York. One cannot even talk about the technicals of trade and industry for more than 2 minutes before someone screams ROTHSCHOLD!!!! 

Your solution of course is to try again. Obviously the last effort was not sincere enough, the leaders were not loving enough and the socialism was not socialist enough.

sinbad2's picture

There are only 70 million people in Russia, and they don't consume like Americans.

They love Mercedes and BMW cars, which are the cream of western production.

10mm's picture

Lots of swirling. 

Arrest Hillary's picture

How about a the flow .... of intellectual properties ?

south40_dreams's picture

Watching that could trigger Parkinsons.   Please send it to.....

Wahooo's picture

Looks like the visualization of a nuke exchange.

hooligan2009's picture

be intersting to do an analysis of how many US imports could be produced in the US - if the US gace itself the chance to do so or if the US developed R&D to substitute.

point is the US (and other debtor tarde nations) are begging on their street corners. they can't sfford the imports because they do not export enough.

tarde is great - wars are not - where there is some sort of balance and labor/working conditions are similar - but LARGE trade deficitds are a failure of the education system in a country. the US education system fails miserably, AT THE MARGIN, to produce graduates that can compete globally - this exacerbates and protectsd the trade deficit.

THE TRADE DEFICIT TRANSLATES DIRECTLY TO THE FISCAL DEFICIT. (just swap the numbers on C+G+i+(X-M) = GDP to hold GDP, C and I constant(ish).

Global corporates are acting as Global socialists (Global nazs) to exploit low labor costs and poor working ccnditions in other countries AT THE EXPENSE OF ANY CHANCE OF EMPLOYING US WORKERS FROM SHITTY US SCHOOLS. Why should an inian, mongolian Similarly, why should an H1B entrant take priority over the upskilling of a US worker? Especially if the H1B worker gets paid ten times as much as the average US worker, who has been incorrectly educated by the US schools and colleges (with their safe space, puppies and crayons).

not only theat, but an out of work or undervalued US worker needs looking after with EBT and health/retirement subsidies - global nazis could give two shits about US people.

the US has a 20 trillion deficit because of libtard global nazi policies - it needs to run TRADE SURPLUSES to repsy the debt it has ru up by living way beyond its means (so does most of non-German Europe).

Germany has a major weakness in that its labor market is intensely regulated to generate quality - it takes too long to innovate - Japan has a much worse demographic issue. the US can use its natural talents and resources from people, currently being impoverished bycentral bank enable global nazi libtards to out compete. china is catching up and will be ahead in twenty years.

it does start with education and a ten to twenty year plan of replacing imports with domestically produced goods OF HIGHER QUALITY AND LOWER PRICE THAN IMPORTS.

once surpluses (of 500 billion to 1 trillion a year) have repaid hald the debt - then the US can go out and educate the rest of the world that is dominated by the lame brainedness of central bank enabled global nazi libtards  by displacing germany, japan and china as the preferred trading partner in exporting goods around the world.

libtard global socialism enabled by central banks will see the entrance of the US INTO THE THIRD WORLD, long with India.

time to get off peoples asses, bin libtard economics enabled by central banks and start generating trade surpluses via remodelling the education system to make it relevant to trading globally IN QUALITY (ot quantity alone).

corproates can run skills training in conjunction to R&D departments to help, not hinder by sending jobs overseas or using foregn nationals on aything other than short term (max 3 year contracts - with training of an american to take over from the H1B holer after three years).


FredFlintstone's picture

Looks like Kansas or Missouri are real active. 

AssN9's picture

Is diabetes classed as an export ?

ThrowAwayYourTV's picture

What? Did ZH go MSM overnight?

I'm used to seeing the words "STUNNING" and "ADORABLE" and "INSPIRATIONAL" and "AMAZING" and "TEARFUL" yatta, yatta, yatta from the 18 year old gay snowflakes on the MSM sites.

You know, those words that make you wanna go "AWWWWW" and "EWWWWW" and "OHHHHHH" and "OMG."


I once (~2002) had a dude from the Middle East in my Ontario hay barn askin me questions. He was looking for ^20^% protein.

If I could have supplied it, I would know more about, to answer your question, international trade.

cool stuff Visual Capitalist

axel_hose's picture

I want to see the one on job exports & imports.

Allen_H's picture

I think that would be the reality.

pcrs's picture

Africa is all black market

sinbad2's picture

Europe and Asia are obviously the hot spots, I can see why China wants to build a huge highway and railways from China to Europe.