Canada's Oil Dependence Is Strong. But It Could Be WAY Worse.

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It's no secret that Canada has taken a hit from low oil prices — and the wildfire in Fort McMurray hasn't made matters any easier.

But look at how much other countries depend on oil, and suddenly you realize that things could be WAY worse.

Data from the World Bank shows that Canada sits far down the list among countries for whom oil makes up a clear portion of merchandise exports (fuel includes oil, coal and natural gas).

fuel exports
(Figures from 2013 were used to illustrate how much these countries depended on oil before prices started crashing the following year. Libya, a heavy oil producer, did not have stats available, so was not included.)

This map only illustrates further how much more other countries depend on oil than Canada does.

oil exports

As European think tank Bruegel shows, countries can be divided into a number of groups based on their dependence.

"Monoculture" exporters include countries such as Iraq, Venezuela and Algeria. This means that oil makes up over 90 per cent of their exports.

Countries that have a "very high dependence" on oil, between 80 and 90 per cent, include Oman, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

Then there are "limited dependence" countries, the ones for whom oil makes up less than 40 per cent of exports. They include Canada, Australia and Indonesia.

Oil rents

But that's not the only metric by which to judge how much countries depends on oil. Another way to do that is to look at oil rents as a percentage of a country's GDP.

Oil rents illustrate the difference between a resource's world price and the total costs of production, according to the World Bank.

Put more simply, it's the resource's value after production costs have been accounted for, according to Stanford lecturer Christine Jojarth.

oil rents
(Libya was not included for consistency's sake, because it was not included among exporting countries. Numbers for this metric were not available for Venezuela or Kiribati, either, and so are not included here.)

Here, Canada falls even further down the list, while Kuwait, which is sixth for fuel exports, sits first.

Map it out, and you have a solid idea of how much individual countries depend on oil.

oil rents map

These graphics indicate that Canada has plenty of other products upon which its economy could depend. But some of those products have proven problematic as well.

Canada's manufacturing sector has been slow to capitalize on a falling loonie, and therefore hasn't been much help in terms of easing the sting of low oil prices, Bloomberg News reported.

Some of that has to do with sluggish demand from the U.S. and elsewhere. But manufacturing is also strongly connected to the oil industry — so the drop in oil prices is having further-reaching effects than just one sector.

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