A Southeast European nation that shares its coastline with Mediterranean Sea, the Republic of Albania shipped an estimated US$2.74 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 42% increase since 2015 but a -4.7% drop from 2018 to 2019.
The latest available country-specific data from 2018 shows that 88.1% of products exported from Albania were bought by importers in: Italy (48% of the global total), Serbia (11.3%), Spain (7.8%), Germany (4.3%), Greece (4.2%), North Macedonia (2.8%), China (1.8%), Montenegro (also 1.8%), United States (1.7%), Romania (1.5%), Czech Republic (also 1.5%) and the Netherlands (1.3%).
From a continental perspective, 93.8% of Albania’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 3.9% were sold to importers in Asia. Albania shipped another 1.8% worth of goods to North America. Smaller percentages went to Africa (0.3%), Oceania led by Marshall Islands (0.1%), and Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.05%).
Given Albania’s population of 2.88 million people, its total $2.74 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $950 for every resident in the Southeast European country.
Albania’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Albanian global shipments during 2019, 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$622.6 million (22.7% of total exports)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $326.7 million (11.9%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $308.8 million (11.3%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $273 million (10%)
- Iron, steel: $192.9 million (7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $106.7 million (3.9%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $93.7 million (3.4%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $62.4 million (2.3%)
- Vegetables: $56.9 million (2.1%)
- Paper, paper items: $49.9 million (1.8%)
Albania’s top 10 exports accounted for 76.4% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Ores, slag and ash represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 32.4% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was knitted or crocheted clothing and accessories via a 13.6% gain. Albania’s shipments of footwear posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 11.9%.
The leading decliner among Albania’s top 10 export categories was iron and steel thanks to a -35.8% annual drop.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, leather footwear represents Albania’s most valuable exported product at 12.5% of the country’s total. In second place were insoles and heel cushions (8.5%) trailed by crude oil (7.8%), iron ferroalloys (4.6%), unknitted and non-crocheted men’s suits and trousers (4.2%), unknitted and non-crocheted women’s clothing (2.7%), electrical energy (2.6%), chromium ores and concentrates (2.4%), knitted or crocheted t-shirts and vests (2%), knitted or crocheted women’s clothing (1.8%) then paper containers and cellulose wadding (1.7%).
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$491.5 million (Up by 18.6% since 2018)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $176.1 million (Up by 5.7%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $129.1 million (Up by 62.1%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $93.1 million (Up by 32.9%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $41.3 million (Up by 1.2%)
- Vegetables: $40.1 million (Down by -12.8%)
- Oil seeds: $32.1 million (Up by 4.6%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $18.4 million (Down by -47.1%)
- Copper: $8.3 million (Up by 0.2%)
- Lead: $4.1 million (Up by 4.6%)
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 -$2.7 billion product trade deficit for 2019, down by -11.9% from -$3.1 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$377.5 million (Down by -12.9% since 2018)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$284.3 million (Down by -6%)
- Vehicles: -$274.7 million (Down by -32.6%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$244.6 million (Up by 13.4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$192.7 million (Down by -13.2%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$191.6 million (Down by -11.7%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: -$128.1 million (Down by -11.9%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$115.7 million (Down by -4.5%)
- Meat: -$93.7 million (Up by 95.4%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$85.4 million (Down by -22.6%)
Albania has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery-related product category, notably for mobile phones.
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)
In macroeconomic terms, Albania’s total exported goods represent 6.9% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($39.8 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 6.9% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 7% for 2018. Those metrics suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Albania’s total economic performance albeit based on short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Albania’s average unemployment rate was 12% for 2019, down from 12.1% one year earlier according to the International Monetary Fund.
Albania’s capital city is Tirana.
See also Montenegro’s Top 10 Exports, Italy’s Top 10 Exports and Top EU Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Europe: Albania. Accessed on June 4, 2020
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Albania. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 4, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 4, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Wikipedia, Albania. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Albania. Accessed on June 4, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 4, 2020
WorldOMeter, Albania Population. Accessed on June 4, 2020