Bahrain’s Top 10 Exports

Bahrain flag (

Bahrain flag (

A tiny constitutional monarchy located in the Persian Gulf, the Kingdom of Bahrain shipped an estimated US$7.5 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a -62.4% decline since 2013 and a -41.6% drop from 2016 to 2017.

As of June 2018, Bahrain’s exported goods were valued at $3.5 billion down -2.1% compared to the first 6 months of 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Bahraini’s exported goods plus services represent 80.2% of total Bahraini economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes a sizable share of re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective and based on 2016 data, $9.63 billion or three-quarters (74.7%) of Bahraini exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 11.1% were sold to North American importers. Bahrain shipped 6.6% worth of goods to Africa with another 4.9% going to Europe.

Given Bahrain’s population of 1.4 million people, its total $7.5 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $5,400 for every resident in the Middle Eastern country.

Trading Economics projects Bahrain’s unemployment rate to be 4.1% as of June 2018.

Bahrain’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Bahraini global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Bahrain.

At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Bahrain’s most valuable export products are processed petroleum oils trailed by Bahraini shipments of unwrought aluminum, aluminum wire, aluminum plates or sheets, iron ores or concentrates, nitrogenous fertilizers, aluminum bars or rods, then petroleum gases.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$2.5 billion (32.8% of total exports)
  2. Aluminum: $2.3 billion (31%)
  3. Iron, steel: $315.3 million (4.2%)
  4. Articles of iron or steel: $261.3 million (3.5%)
  5. Ores, slag, ash: $173.4 million (2.3%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $173.2 million (2.3%)
  7. Machinery including computers: $155.9 million (2.1%)
  8. Fertilizers: $152.5 million (2%)
  9. Gems, precious metals: $136.7 million (1.8%)
  10. Organic chemicals: $120 million (1.6%)

Bahrain’s top 10 exports accounted for 83.6% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Articles of iron or steel was the fastest-growing among the top categories, up by 31.9% from 2016 to 2017. The only other improving top category was aluminum via a 29.7% increase.

The leading decliner among the top categories was ores, slag and ash which dropped by -77.8%. This category was weighed down by Bahrain’s slowing international sales of iron ores and concentrates.


The following types of Bahraini 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.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$2.3 billion (Down by -19.7% since 2016)
  2. Aluminum: $2 billion (Up by 26.4%)
  3. Iron, steel: $161.1 million (Up by 38.3%)
  4. Fertilizers: $148.7 million (Down by -5.1%)
  5. Organic chemicals: $74.4 million (Down by -4%)
  6. Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $71 million (Up by 112.5%)
  7. Fish: $26 million (Reversing a -$10 million deficit)
  8. Miscellaneous food preparations: $17.8 million (Up by 27,752%)
  9. Glass: $14.6 million (Reversing a -$20.1 million deficit)
  10. Soaps, washing preparations, lubricants, waxes: $9.4 million (Reversing a -$5.8 million deficit)

Bahrain has positive net exports in the international trade of mineral fuels including oil, particularly refined petroleum oils and, to a lesser extent, petroleum gases. In turn, these cashflows indicate Bahrain’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels including oil category.


Overall Bahrain incurred a -$1.9 billion trade deficit for 2017, up by 2.6% from -$1.86 billion one year earlier.

As of June 2018, Bahrain’s trade deficit stood at -$325.7 million up 23.3% compared to the first 6 months of 2017.

Below are exports from Bahrain that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Bahrain’s goods trail Bahraini importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Machinery including computers: -US$1.4 billion (Up by 143.1% since 2016)
  2. Vehicles: -$1.1 billion (Down by -26.4%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$819.2 million (Up by 8.8%)
  4. Ships, boats: -$459.3 million (Up by 21.1%)
  5. Aircraft, spacecraft: -$244.7 million (Up by 38%)
  6. Meat: -$200.9 million (Down by -8.4%)
  7. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$167.4 million (Up by 88.5%)
  8. Ores, slag, ash: -$164.3 million (Reversing a $510.8 million surplus)
  9. Pharmaceuticals: -$145.5 million (Down by -52.5%)
  10. Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: -$133.7 million (Up by 28.7%)

Bahrain has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers category, notably turbojets and air or vacuum pumps.


Bahraini Export Companies

Two Bahraini regional banks rank among Forbes Global 2000 corporations, namely Ahli United Bank and Arab Banking.

Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Bahrain. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Al Baraka Banking Group (investment banking)
  • Aluminium Bahrain (aluminum and related products)
  • Bahrain Petroleum Company (oil, gas)
  • Banagas (natural gas)
  • DHL International Aviation ME (cargo transportation)
  • Fakhro Group (industrial conglomerate)
  • Nass Corporation B.S.C. (construction materials)
  • Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo (travel, shipping, technology conglomerate)

Bahrain’s capital city is Manama, a name meaning “place of rest” or “place of dreams” in Arabic.

See also Saudi Arabia’s Top 10 Exports, Jordan’s Top 10 Exports and Top Middle Eastern Export Countries

Research Sources:, Flag of Bahrain. Accessed on September 4, 2018

Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 4, 2018

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on September 4, 2018

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 4, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 4, 2018

The World Factbook, Middle East: Bahrain. Accessed on September 4, 2018

Wikipedia, Bahrain. Accessed on September 4, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Bahrain. Accessed on September 4, 2018

World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Manama, Bahrain. Accessed on September 4, 2018