A country in Southeastern Europe situated on the Balkan Peninsula, Bosnia and Herzegovina shipped US$6.6 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 29% increase since 2015 but a -8.4% decline from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Bosnia-Herzegovina convertible mark appreciated by 0.9% against the US dollar since 2015 but declined by -5.4% from 2018 to 2019. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s weaker local currency since 2018 makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers during 2019.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 82.7% of products exported from Bosnia and Herzegovina were bought by importers in: Germany (14.6% of the global total), Croatia (12.2%), Serbia (11.4%), Italy (11.3%), Austria (9.5%), Slovenia (8.8%), Montenegro (3.5%), Turkey (2.5%), Hungary (2.3%), France (also 2.3%), Netherlands (2.1%) and Switzerland (also 2.1%).
From a continental perspective, 93.2% of Bosnia and Herzegovina exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 4.5% were sold to importers in Asia. Bosnia and Herzegovina shipped another 1.5% worth of goods to Africa. Tinier percentages went to North America (0.6%), Oceania (0.1%) led by Australia then Latin America (0.03%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Given Bosnia and Herzegovina’s population of 3.5 million people, its total $6.6 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $1,900 for every resident in the Southeastern European nation.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Bosniak and Herzegovinian global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: US$576.7 million (8.8% of total exports)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $532.3 million (8.1%)
- Machinery including computers: $460.5 million (7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $449.8 million (6.8%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $446.3 million (6.8%)
- Wood: $430.2 million (6.5%)
- Footwear: $426.5 million (6.5%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $356.4 million (5.4%)
- Iron, steel: $329.3 million (5%)
- Aluminum: $311.8 million (4.7%)
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s top 10 exports accounted for almost two-thirds (65.7%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Electrical machinery and equipment represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 10.9% from 2018 to 2019. The only other top category for improving export sales was articles made from iron or steel via a 3.8% gain.
The leading decliner among Bosnia and Herzegovina’s top 10 export categories was aluminum, thanks to a -28.5% drop year over year
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most valuable export products are furniture (7.9% of global total), electrical energy (5%), insulated wire or cable (2.9%), miscellaneous iron and steel structures (also 2.9%), sawn wood (2.8%), footwear (2.6%), insoles and heel cushions (2.5%), automobile parts or accessories (2.4%), then coiled iron or non-alloy steel bars and rods (2.3%).
The following types of Bosniak and Herzegovinian 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.
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: US$410.6 million (Down by -20.2% since 2018)
- Inorganic chemicals: $269.6 million (Up by 16.8%)
- Wood: $250.5 million (Down by -18.1%)
- Footwear: $224.2 million (Down by -8.3%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $154 million (Up by 39.8%)
- Arms, ammunition: $113.1 million (Down by -2.1%)
- Aluminum: $75.9 million (Down by -64.6%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $46.6 million (Down by -30.4%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $7.8 million (Down by -70.2%)
- Umbrellas, walking-sticks: $7.5 million (Down by -21.8%)
Bosnia and Herzegovina generated highly positive net exports in the international trade of furniture and prefabricated buildings. In turn, these cashflows indicate Bosnia and Herzegovina’s strong competitive advantages under the furniture, bedding, lighting, signs and prefab buildings product category.
Overall Bosnia and Herzegovina incurred a -$4.6 billion trade deficit during 2019, up by 3% from -$4.4 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Bosnia and Herzegovina that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Bosnia and Herzegovina’s goods trail Bosniak and Herzegovinian importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$1 billion (Up by 2% since 2018)
- Vehicles: -$613.8 million (Up by 4.4%)
- Machinery including computers: -$457 million (Down by -2.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$320.1 million (Down by -13.4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$282.6 million (Up by 11%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$211 million (Down by -21.5%)
- Meat: -$166.2 million (Up by 19.7%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$161.6 million (Up by 0.4%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: -$147.1 million (Up by 0.7%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: -$144.5 million (Up by 5.3%)
Bosnia and Herzegovina posted highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related products notably petroleum oils, coal and petroleum gases.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Bosnia and Herzegovina’s competitive disadvantages in the international mineral fuels market, but also represent key opportunities for Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.
Bosniak and Herzegovinian Export Companies
Not one Bosniak and Herzegovinian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia does list exporters from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Selected examples are shown below:
- Agrokomerc (food)
- Aluminij d.d. Mostar (aluminum)
- Energopetrol (oil, gas)
- Sarajevska pivara (beer, soft drinks, water)
- Telekom Srpske (internet services)
In macroeconomic terms, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s total exported goods represent 13.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($49.8 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 13.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 15.2% one year earlier. Those metrics seem to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s total economic performance albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s average unemployment rate was 18% for 2019 down from 18.4% one year earlier, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital city is Sarajevo.
See also Croatia’s Top 10 Exports, France’s Top 10 Exports and European Union’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, Country Profiles, The World Factbook. Accessed on March 3, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 3, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on March 3, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 3, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 3, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 3, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on March 3, 2020
Wikipedia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Accessed on March 3, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Accessed on March 3, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on March 3, 2020