Some intresting things on the world economy…
- Six of the top ten companies on this year’s list are pumping petroleum, and three more are making vehicles that burn it.
- But the big story was oil. Exxon Mobil (Charts, Fortune 500) (No. 2), fueled by high crude prices, was again the most profitable company in the world ($39.5 billion).
- Not all of the old-economy companies are doing well. Ford Motor (Charts, Fortune 500) (No. 12) fell out of the top ten for the first time in the Global 500’s 13-year history. Its revenues shrank 10%, and losses totaled $12.6 billion, making it the losingest company on the list this year.
- Growing global wealth also rewarded banks focused on high-net-worth individuals. The number of millionaires worldwide increased 8% last year, to 9.5 million, according to a Merrill Lynch and Capgemini survey.
- While the U.S. remains the world’s locomotive of economic growth — its 162 companies on the Global 500 account for more than a third of total revenue — developing economies are increasingly driving growth in many sectors, including commodities, mining, and construction. “The U.S.’s role as an engine of growth might be overstated,” says Richard Iley, senior economist at BNP Paribas. “There’s an emerging maxim: If China needs it, you’re going to do well. If China makes it, you’re going to struggle.”
- China, the world’s fourth-largest economy by GDP, added four companies to the list, more than any other country, bringing its total to 24.
- There were some new-economy success stories. Samsung Electronics (No. 46) became Asia’s biggest consumer electronics firm, edging out Hitachi.