A Southeastern European nation that shares its coastline with Mediterranean Sea, the Republic of Albania shipped an estimated US$2.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 10.1% increase since 2014 and a 16.3% uptick from 2017 to 2018.
The latest available country-specific data from 2017 shows that 89.9% of products exported from Albania were bought by importers in: Italy (53.5% of the global total), Serbia (9.4%), Spain (5.5%), Greece (4.3%), Germany (4%), North Macedonia (3.1%), China (also 3.1%), Montenegro (1.8%), Romania (1.7%), United States (1.3%), Bulgaria (1.1%) and Hungary (also 1.1%).
From a continental perspective, 92.7% of Albania exports by value were delivered to European countries while 5% were sold to Asian importers. Albania shipped another 1.3% worth of goods to North America. Smaller percentages went to Africa (0.7%), Latin America (0.1%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania led by Marshall Islands and Australia (0.1%).
Given Albania’s population of 3.057 million people, its total $2.7 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $875 for every resident in the European country.
In macroeconomic terms, Albania’s total exported goods represent 7% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($38.4 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 7% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 8.5% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Albania’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Albania also provided $3.6 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 9.4% of GDP in PPP.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Albania’s unemployment rate was 12.6% at March 2019 down from 12.9% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.
Albania’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Albanian global shipments during 2018, at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Albania.
- Footwear: US$638.9 million (23.9% of total exports)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $298.5 million (11.2%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $290 million (10.8%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $277.4 million (10.4%)
- Iron, steel: $176.9 million (6.6%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $101.2 million (3.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $94.4 million (3.5%)
- Vegetables: $56.7 million (2.1%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $56.5 million (2.1%)
- Aluminum: $56.4 million (2.1%)
Albania’s top 10 exports accounted for over three-quarters (76.5%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 43.6% since 2017 and galvanized by improving international sales for Albania’s crude oil.
In second place for improving export sales was knitted or crocheted clothing, accessories via a 41.7% increase.
Albania’s shipments of footwear posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 33.9%.
The leading decliner among the top 10 Albanian export categories was aluminum thanks to a -16.3% drop.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, leather footwear represents Albania’s most valuable exported product at 13.8% of the country’s total. In second place were insoles and heel cushions (8.7%) trailed by crude oil (7.5%), unknitted and non-crocheted men’s suits and trousers (4.3%), iron ferroalloys (3.3%), chromium ores and concentrates (3.2%), unknitted and non-crocheted women’s clothing (2.5%), knitted or crocheted t-shirts and vests (2.1%), knitted or crocheted women’s clothing (2.1%) then electrical energy (2%).
The following types of Albanian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Footwear: US$499.7 million (Up by 44.5% since 2017)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $159.3 million (Up by 6.7%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $132.1 million (Up by 161.2%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $100.4 million (Up by 3.5%)
- Vegetables: $41.8 million (Up by 4.3%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $36 million (Down by -8.5%)
- Oil seeds: $27.4 million (Up by 21.9%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $15.6 million (Down by -44.8%)
- Copper: $9.4 million (Down by -4.1%)
- Headgear: $5.1 million (Up by 524%)
Albania has highly positive net exports in the international trade of footwear. In turn, these cashflows indicate Albania’s strong competitive advantages under the footwear product category.
Overall Albania incurred an estimated -$2.8 billion product trade deficit for 2018, down by -5.3% from -$3 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Albania that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Albania’s goods trail Albanian importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$417 million (Up by 10.8% since 2017)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$347.8 million (Up by 8.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$290.1 million (Up by 2%)
- Vehicles: -$255.5 million (Down by -25.1%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$211 million (Up by 8.9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$186 million (Down by -9.8%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: -$136.5 million (Up by 3.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$113.2 million (Down by -14.5%)
- Cereals: -$85.3 million (Up by 6.4%)
- Meat: -$84.4 million (Up by 85.6%)
Albania has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels-related product category due mostly to red ink. Notable deficit creators include refined petroleum oils, coal coke and semi-coke as well as coal itself, and petroleum gases.
Albanian Export Companies
Not one Albanian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists some exports-related companies from Albania. Selected examples are shown below:
- AlbChrome (chrome, ferrochrome)
- Albpetrol (oil, gas)
- Antea Cement (cement)
- Birra Tirana (beer)
- Birra Korça (beer)
- Military Export Import Company MEICO (military equipment)
- Taçi Oil (oil, gas)
Albania’s capital city is Tirana.
See also Montenegro’s Top 10 Exports, Italy’s Top 10 Exports and Top EU Export Countries
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Albania. Accessed on August 22, 2018
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 22, 2018
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 10, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 10, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 22, 2018
The World Factbook, Europe: Albania. Accessed on August 22, 2018
Wikipedia, Albania. Accessed on August 22, 2018
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 10, 2019
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Albania. Accessed on August 22, 2018
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 10, 2019
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Tirana, Albania. Accessed on August 22, 2018