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Christmas trade

Guano in your stocking from Christmas Island

FRED has some surprising international data, including U.S. trade data for Christmas Island.

Christmas Island doesn’t appear to be a home for Santa, as it is just south of Indonesia, administered by Australia, with remarkably stable tropical weather. A couple of thousand inhabitants principally work in phosphate extraction from guano deposits. It was named on December 25, 1643, by a British captain sailing past it. The first human set foot on the island in 1688, but it took two centuries for the first settlement after the discovery of those nearly pure phosphate deposits.

Overall, trade with Christmas Island is modest, even considering its small size. The latest value for its annual worldwide exports is about $17 million. Yearly trade with the U.S. sometimes exceeds a million and sometimes is even zero.

The above FRED graph shows monthly trade with the U.S., which allows us to see several small spikes and one very large one. In September 2008, something very pricey was exported from the U.S. to Christmas Island, which the Census Bureau trade database classified as jewelry: NAICS codes 339911 (Jewelry except Costumes) and 339913 (Jewelers’ Material and Lapidary Work). Was it a Christmas gift?

How this graph was created: Search FRED for “Christmas Island imports.” Once you have the graph, use the “Edit Graph” panel to open the “Add Line” tab. Then search for and select “Christmas Island exports.”

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

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