Strategically positioned at the confluence of southwestern Asia with southeastern Europe north of Iran and south of Russia, the Republic of Azerbaijan shipped US$19.6 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -55.3% decline since 2015 and a -0.9% increase from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Azerbaijani manat depreciated by -65.9% against the US dollar since 2015 but remained about the same from 2018 to 2019. Azerbaijan’s weaker local currency since 2015 makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 82.1% of products exported from Azerbaijan were bought by importers in: Italy (28.7% of the global total), Turkey (14.6%), Israel (6.8%), India (4.9%), Germany (4.7%), China (3.8%), Russia (3.7%), Spain (3.6%), Czech Republic (3.3%), Georgia (3%), France (2.7%) and the United Kingdom (2.3%).
From a continental perspective, 60.1% of Azerbaijan exports by value were delivered to European countries while 38.2% were sold to importers in Asia. Smaller percentages went to Africa (0.5%), Oceania (0.2%) mostly Australia, then Latin America (0.03%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Given Azerbaijan’s population of 10.1 million people, its total $19.6 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $2,000 for every resident in the Middle Eastern country.
Azerbaijan’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Azerbaijani global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Azerbaijan.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$17.8 billion (90.7% of total exports)
- Fruits, nuts: $362.6 million (1.8%)
- Vegetables: $243.2 million (1.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $179.4 million (0.9%)
- Gems, precious metals: $174.5 million (0.9%)
- Cotton: $158.5 million (0.8%)
- Aluminum: $128 million (0.7%)
- Organic chemicals: $66.9 million (0.3%)
- Machinery including computers: $43.9 million (0.2%)
- Iron, steel: $39.4 million (0.2%)
Azerbaijan’s top 10 exports are highly concentrated, accounting for 97.8% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Plastics including plastic articles represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 51.3% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was the gems and precious metals category via a 46.4% gain led by gold. Azerbaijan’s shipments of cotton posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 46.3%.
The sole decliner among Azerbaijan’s top 10 export categories was the mineral fuels including oil thanks to a -0.4% drop year over year
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, crude oil represents Azerbaijan’s most valuable exported product at 75.4% of the country’s total global sales. In second place were petroleum gases (12.1%) trailed by processed petroleum oils (2.4%), fresh or chilled tomatoes (1%), unwrought gold (0.9%), miscellaneous fresh fruits (0.7%), miscellaneous nuts (0.6%) then uncarded cotton (also 0.6%).
Overall Azerbaijan achieved a $6 billion trade surplus for 2019, down by -25.2% from the $8 billion in black ink one year earlier.
The following types of Azerbaijani 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$17 billion (Down by -1% since 2018)
- Fruits, nuts: $238 million (Up by 9.2%)
- Vegetables: $173.5 million (Down by -2.1%)
- Cotton: $152.3 million (Up by 48.1%)
- Aluminum: $35 million (Up by 37.3%)
- Organic chemicals: $23.2 million (Up by 120.5%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $20 million (Up by 14.6%)
- Lead: $11.8 million (Up by 12%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $11.1 million (Down by -7.2%)
- Silk: $864,000 (Reversing a -$54,000 deficit)
Azerbaijan has highly positive net exports in the international trade of crude oil and, to a lesser extent, petroleum gases and refined oils. In turn, these cashflows indicate Azerbaijan’s strong competitive advantages under the category called mineral fuels including oil.
Below are exports from Azerbaijan that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Azerbaijan’s goods trail Azerbaijani importer spending on foreign products.
- Gems, precious metals: -US$2 billion (Up by 174.2% since 2018)
- Machinery including computers: -$1.6 billion (Down by -9.7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$990.1 million (Up by 30.4%)
- Vehicles: -$923.5 million (Up by 44.8%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$624.3 million (Down by -19.1%)
- Cereals: -$398.1 million (Up by 59.4%)
- Iron, steel: -$366.2 million (Up by 6.4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$295.2 million (Up by 2.4%)
- Wood: -$284.2 million (Down by -4.2%)
- Railways, streetcars: -$258.1 million (Up by 70.3%)
Azerbaijan has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the gems and precious metals category, particularly for gold.
Azerbaijani Export Companies
Not one Azerbaijani corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2016.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Azerbaijan. Selected examples are shown below:
- Akkord Industry Construction Investment Corp (construction materials)
- Azal Avia Cargo (cargo airline)
- AzMeCo (methanol)
- AzSamand (vehicles)
- Bahra Biscuit Factory (food)
- Ganja Auto Plant (vehicles)
- Gazelli Group (cosmetics)
- Inter Glass (glass products)
- Shollar water (beverages)
- SOCAR (oil, gas)
In macroeconomic terms, Azerbaijan’s total exported goods represent 10.5% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($187.3 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 10.5% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 11.2% one year earlier. This seems to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Azerbaijan’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Azerbaijan’s average unemployment rate was 4.982% in 2019 down from 5.009% one year earlier, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Azerbaijan’s capital city is Baku, derived from Persian wording that translates to “Wind-pounded city”.
See also Crude Oil Exports by Country, Sweet Cherries Exports by Country and Capital Facts for Baku, Azerbaijan
Central Intelligence Agency, Country Profiles, The World Factbook. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 2, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on March 2, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 2, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Azerbaijan. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on March 2, 2020