A country located on North Africa’s Mediterranean coast, Algeria shipped an estimated US$41.6 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a -31.1% decline since 2014 but an 18.2% upturn from 2017 to 2018.
Based on 2017 data, 81.7% of products exported from Algeria were bought by importers in: Italy (16% of the global total), France (12.6%), Spain (11.7%), United States (9.9%), Brazil (6%), Netherlands (5.4%), Turkey (5.2%), United Kingdom (4.6%), Portugal (2.7%), Belgium (2.6%), South Korea (2.5%) and India (also 2.5%).
From a continental perspective, $20.5 billion or 58.2% of Algerian exports by value were delivered to European countries while 17.1% were sold to importers in Asia. Algeria shipped another 11.8% worth of goods to North America. Smaller percentages arrived in Latin America (7.2%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean then fellow African nations (5.3%).
Given Algeria’s population of about 41.7 million people, its total $41.6 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $1,000 for every resident in the northern African country.
In macroeconomic terms, Algeria’s total exported goods represent 6.3% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($657.5 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 6.3% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 7.5% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Algeria’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Algeria also provided $3.1 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 0.5% of GDP in PPP.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Algeria’s unemployment rate was 11.7% at September 2018 up from 10.5% two years earlier, according to Trading Economics.
Algeria’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Algerian global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Algeria.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$39.3 billion (94.5% of total exports)
- Fertilizers: $904.5 million (2.2%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $585.4 million (1.4%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $111.5 million (0.3%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $111.2 million (0.3%)
- Fruits, nuts: $101 million (0.2%)
- Machinery including computers: $92.2 million (0.2%)
- Iron, steel: $54.7 million (0.1%)
- Glass: $36.3 million (0.1%)
- Organic chemicals: $33.2 million (0.1%)
Algeria’s top 10 exports accounted for 99.3% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Iron and steel was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 483.3% since 2017.
In second place for improving export sales were fertilizers thanks to a 176.6% improvement.
Algeria’s shipments of machinery including computers posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 118.8% year over year.
The leading decliner among the top 10 Algeria export categories was sugar and sugar confectionery via a -51.2% drop.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, crude oil represents Algeria’s most valuable exported product at 42.5% of the country’s total. In second place was petroleum gases (33.4%) trailed by processed petroleum oils (18.6%), nitrogenous fertilizers (2.2%), ammonia (1.2%) then sugar (0.3%).
The following types of Algerian 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.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$36.3 billion (Up by 13.7% since 2017)
- Fertilizers: $771 million (Up by 230.2%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $453.8 million (Up by 178.2%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $15.9 million (Up by 18.6%)
- Cork, articles of cork: $8 million (Up by 92.4%)
- Wool: $2.7 million (Up by 276.8%)
- Lead: $2.5 million (Reversing a -$4.5 million deficit)
- Collector items, art, antiques: $221,000 (Down by -1327.8%)
Algeria has positive net exports in the international trade of petroleum gases and oils. In turn, these cashflows indicate Algeria’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels including oil product category.
Overall Algeria incurred a -$5.7 billion deficit for all products traded during 2018, down by -47.2% from -$10.9 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Algeria that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Algeria’s goods trail Algerian importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$6.8 billion (Down by -14.1% since 2017)
- Vehicles: -$4.5 billion (Up by 29.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$3 billion (Down by -24.4%)
- Cereals: -$2.7 billion (Down by -1.2%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$1.7 billion (Down by -8.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$1.7 billion (Down by -42.3%)
- Iron, steel: -$1.6 billion (Down by -31.4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.6 billion (Down by -20.2%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$1.3 billion (Down by -9%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$867 million (Up by 16.5%)
As technology becomes increasingly important to the global economy, Algeria maintains highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers category.
Algerian Export Companies
Not one Algerian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Algeria. Selected examples are shown below:
- Asmidal (chemicals)
- Cevital (food, glass, home appliances)
- Hamoud Boualem (soft drinks)
- Naftal (oil equipment, services)
- Saidal (pharmaceuticals)
- Sonatrach (oil, gas)
Algeria’s capital city is Algiers.
See also Top South African Trading Partners, Kenya’s Top 10 Exports and Top African Export Countries
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Algeria. Accessed on June 2, 2018
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 2, 2018
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 6, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 6, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on July 6, 2019
The World Factbook, Africa: Algeria. Accessed on June 2, 2018
Wikipedia, Algeria. Accessed on June 2, 2018
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 6, 2019
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Algeria. Accessed on June 2, 2018
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 6, 2019
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Algiers, Algeria. Accessed on June 2, 2018