Strategically positioned at the confluence of southwestern Asia with southeastern Europe north of Iran and south of Russia, the Republic of Azerbaijan shipped US$20.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a -7.7% decline since 2014 but a 45.5% increase from 2017 to 2018.
2017 data shows that 77.8% of products exported from Azerbaijan were bought by importers in Italy (31.9% of the global total), Turkey (9.9%), Israel (4.6%), Russia (4.3%), Czech Republic (4%), Canada (3.9%), Georgia (3.4%), Indonesia (also 3.4%), Germany (3.3%), Portugal (3.2%), China (also 3.2%) and India (2.6%).
From a continental perspective, 62.1% of Azerbaijan exports by value were delivered to European countries while 32.1% were sold to Asian importers. Azerbaijan shipped another 4.3% worth of goods to North America. Smaller percentages went to Africa (1.3%), Latin America (0.01%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.005%) led by Australia.
Given Azerbaijan’s population of 10 million people, its total $20.1 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $2,000 for every resident in the Middle Eastern country.
In macroeconomic terms, Azerbaijan’s total exported goods represent 11.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($179.7 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 11.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 11.8% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Azerbaijan’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Azerbaijan also provided $4.7 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 2.6% of GDP in PPP.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Azerbaijan’s unemployment rate was 5.2% in 2018 up from 5% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.
Azerbaijan’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Azerbaijani global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Azerbaijan.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$18.4 billion (91.6% of total exports)
- Fruits, nuts: $340.9 million (1.7%)
- Vegetables: $234.8 million (1.2%)
- Gems, precious metals: $179.8 million (0.9%)
- Aluminum: $106.6 million (0.5%)
- Cotton: $103.8 million (0.5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $102.4 million (0.5%)
- Organic chemicals: $98.6 million (0.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $56.7 million (0.3%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $39.6 million (0.2%)
Azerbaijan’s top 10 exports are highly concentrated, accounting for 97.9% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Cotton was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 99.7% year over year since 2017.
In second place for improving export sales was the salt, sulphur, stone and cement category via a 56.9% increase.
Azerbaijan’s shipments of mineral fuels including oil posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 48.8% thanks mainly to improved international sales of crude petroleum oil.
The sole decliner among the top 10 Azerbaijan export categories was aluminum which depreciated -9.4% year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, crude oil represents Azerbaijan’s most valuable exported product at 88.1% of the country’s total. In second place were petroleum gases (1.4%) trailed by processed petroleum oils (1.1%), fresh or chilled tomatoes (0.9%), unwrought gold (0.9%), miscellaneous fresh fruits (0.7%), miscellaneous nuts (0.5%) then ethylene polymers (0.4%).
Overall Azerbaijan achieved a $10.6 billion trade surplus for 2018, up by 111.4% from the $5 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$18.1 billion (Up by 51.1% since 2017)
- Fruits, nuts: $292.4 million (Up by 34.4%)
- Vegetables: $212.2 million (Up by 38.8%)
- Cotton: $99.4 million (Up by 110%)
- Organic chemicals: $73.5 million (Up by 395.4%)
- Aluminum: $37.8 million (Down by -18.1%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $13.6 million (Reversing a -$10.2 million deficit)
- Ores, slag, ash: $12.2 million (Down by -35.4%)
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $9.8 million (Reversing a -$8.6 million deficit)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $9.8 million (Down by -32.5%)
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.
- Machinery including computers: -US$1.5 billion (Up by 22.4% since 2017)
- Gems, precious metals: -$768.7 million (Reversing a $112.3 million surplus)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$704.5 million (Up by 28.2%)
- Vehicles: -$585.8 million (Up by 42.3%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$553.2 million (Up by 5.3%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: -$281.2 million (No 2017 data)
- Iron, steel: -$277.9 million (Up by 0.2%)
- Wood: -$255.9 million (Up by 20.9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$254.8 million (Up by 2.7%)
- Cereals: -$212.5 million (Down by -27.1%)
Azerbaijan has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers category.
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)
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
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 3, 2018
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 8, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 3, 2018
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on June 3, 2018
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on July 8, 2019
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 8, 2019
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Azerbaijan. Accessed on June 3, 2018
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 8, 2019