The world is currently in the midst of an exporters’ crisis. The stagnation in global consumption levels and decline of commodity prices have led to increased instability and insecurity in countries heavily dependent on exports.
The origins of the exporters’ crisis lie in the economic recessions that the United States and Europe experienced due to the 2008 financial crash. These countries were major consumers of Chinese goods, notably low-cost manufactured products.
Lost revenue slowed China’s economy, leading to lower Chinese demand for commodities and goods. This caused commodity prices to fall and global exports to decline.
The Most Vulnerable Countries
The map below shows the 16 most vulnerable countries.
They can be divided into four categories: heavyweights, critical periphery, Pacific countries, and African countries. The four heavyweight countries—China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Germany—are regional powers and have large enough economies to create ripple effects in other nations’ economies.
The critical periphery includes Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, and Nigeria. The fates of these countries matter due to their relationships with major powers. In each case, instability and economic collapse could trigger a new crisis or worsen existing ones for nearby regional powers.
A group of countries around the Pacific—Chile, Taiwan, Australia, and South Korea—has been highly exposed to the exporters’ crisis but has yet to see the full impact. In the African countries that are most exposed—South Africa, Zambia, and Angola—the crisis could serve as a catalyst for regime change after decades of consistent rule.
They Can’t Do Anything but Hope
Exporters depend on importers to help them out of economic hardship. Prospects for recovery remain bleak because importers are not buying enough goods to offset the effects of the crisis.
Another solution is that exporters could increase domestic demand. However, doing this is very difficult. Thus, export-dependent countries will stay in crisis for as long as the global economy remains lethargic.
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