March 8, 2016 This week’s map highlights Mexico’s key trade partners. The exporters’ crisis dramatically impacts those countries where exports account for a large portion of total GDP. In Mexico, exports represent only about 32 percent of GDP. This alone means Mexico is only moderately exposed to the exporters’ crisis. There are countries with higher exposure, like Germany, where exports make up about 45 percent of GDP, and countries with lower exposure, like the United States, where exports account for only 13.5 percent of GDP. However, the nature of Mexico’s export destinations significantly reduces the country’s vulnerability to the crisis. The United States – a relatively stable market – imports 80 percent of Mexican exports, while only about 1.3 percent of exports go to China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.
Oct. 21, 2016 For months, the media has been filled with news of the impending offensive by Iraqi Security Forces – supported by a coalition of Kurdish peshmerga, Sunni tribal militias, Iran-backed Shiite militias and the U.S. – to retake Mosul from the Islamic State. The overture to this battle has finally begun. Offensive forces have started advancing on their battle positions and are now encountering resistance. This resistance will increase exponentially once the fighting moves into purely urban warfare.
July 9, 2016 With worrying signals this week about the German economy and the Italian banking sector, Europe has been at the forefront of our minds. So we have chosen here to present a map of the percentage change in GDP per capita in Europe to show how growth has developed over the past 20 years.
GDP per capita is, like all measurements, an imperfect statistic, but it is a useful way of comparing the performance of various economies in terms of standard of living and overall economic productivity.
Aug. 11, 2017 Energy sales are an important source of revenue, of course, but for Russia they are more than that: They are an instrument of geopolitical power. They give Moscow considerable influence over the countries whose energy needs are met by Russian exports.
France and Germany – the de facto, if often irreconcilable, leaders of the European Union – illustrate how Russian energy can shape foreign policy. France may rely heavily on foreign energy, but most of its oil and natural gas comes from Algeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Libya – not Russia. France can therefore afford to be more aggressive and supportive of sanctions against Russia.
Not so with Germany, which receives 57 percent of its natural gas and 35 percent of its crude oil from Russia. Berlin must therefore tread lightly between its primary security benefactor, the U.S., and its primary source of energy, Russia.
This is one reason Germany has been such an outspoken critic of the recent U.S. sanctions, which penalize businesses in any country that collaborate or participate in joint ventures with Russian energy firms. Germany supports the construction of Nord Stream 2, a pipeline that would run through the Baltic Sea, circumventing Ukraine – the transit state through which Germany currently receives much of its energy imports. The pipeline would help to safeguard German energy procurement, since it would allow Russia to punish Ukraine by withholding shipments of natural gas without punishing countries such as Germany further downstream.