A landlocked central European nation that shares its western border with economic powerhouse Germany, the Czech Republic shipped US$202.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 16% increase since 2014 and a 10.9% uptick from 2017 to 2018.
Reported as of September 7, 2019, the Czech Republic exported $100.2 billion worth of goods during the first 6 months of 2019 down -2.6% compared to the same period one year earlier.
The Czech Republic is also called Czechia, its officially approved short name since May 2, 2016.
Given Czechia’s strategic location in central Europe, it should come as no surprise that 89.1% of Czech exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries. Smaller percentages were sold to customers in Asia (6%), North America (2.6%) and Africa (1.1%).
The Czech Republic’s population was 10.7 million people as of July 2018. Therefore, its total $202.1 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $19,000 for every resident in the central European country.
In macroeconomic terms, Czechia’s total exported goods represent 51.1% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($395.9 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 51.1% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 63% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for the Czech Republic’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Czechia also provided $29.9 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 7.6% of GDP in PPP. These metrics include a significant amount of re-exporting activity.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Czechia’s unemployment rate was 2.6% at May 2019 down from 2.9% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.
Czech Republic’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Czech global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from the Czech Republic.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Czechia’s most valuable export products are cars followed by automobile parts and accessories, computers then mobile phones.
- Vehicles: US$41.1 billion (20.3% of total exports)
- Machinery including computers: $40.2 billion (19.9%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $36.4 billion (18%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $7.4 billion (3.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $7.1 billion (3.5%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $5.7 billion (2.8%)
- Iron, steel: $4.8 billion (2.4%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $4.2 billion (2.1%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $4.1 billion (2%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $4.1 billion (2%)
Czech Republic’s top 10 exports accounted for over three-quarters (76.6%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Iron or steel and mineral fuels including oil were the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, both up 26.2% from 2017 to 2018.
In third place for improving Czech export sales was machinery including computers which rose 17.1%.
Overall Czechia posted a $18.4 billion trade surplus in 2018, down -4.8% from $19.3 billion in black ink one year earlier.
The following types of Czech 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.
- Vehicles: US$22.5 billion (Up by 8.3% since 2017)
- Machinery including computers: $8.9 billion (Up by 37.8%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $2.2 billion (Up by 5.7%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $2 billion (Up by 3.1%)
- Toys, games: $1.7 billion (Up by 9.2%)
- Wood: $1.3 billion (Up by 15.9%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $1.2 billion (Up by 7.1%)
- Glass: $958.1 million (Down by -0.3%)
- Miscellaneous manufactured articles: $661.6 million (Up by 10.7%)
- Railways, streetcars: $548.6 million (Up by 2.5%)
Czech Republic has highly positive net exports in the international trade of automobiles notably cars, automotive parts and accessories. In turn, these cashflows indicate Czech Republic’s strong competitive advantages under the vehicles product category.
Below are exports from Czechia that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Czechia’s goods trail Czech importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$7.1 billion (Up by 28.3% since 2017)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$2.6 billion (Up by 0.4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$2.3 billion (Up by 12.2%)
- Iron, steel: -$2.2 billion (Up by 1.5%)
- Other chemical goods: -$1.1 billion (Up by 7%)
- Meat: -$1.1 billion (Up by 8.9%)
- Copper: -$921.2 million (Up by 8.8%)
- Aluminum: -$914.6 million (Up by 16.8%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: -$805 million (Reversing a $130.4 million surplus)
- Fruits, nuts: -$670.5 million (Up by 7.1%)
Czechia has highly negative net exports and, in particular, deep international trade deficits for petroleum oils and gases.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Czechia’s competitive disadvantages in the international energy market, but also represent key opportunities for the Czech Republic to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.
Czech Export Companies
Only one Czech company made the Forbes Global 2000 rankings: CEZ Group (electric utilities).
Wikipedia lists other relatively large Czech companies. A selected sample of these companies appears below.
- Škoda Auto A.S. (automobiles)
- Agrofert, A.S. (conglomerate)
- RWE Supply & Trading CZ, A.S. (oil, gas)
- Unipetrol, A.S. (chemicals)
- ČEPRO, A.S. (oil, gas)
- Barum Continental Spol. S R.O. (tires)
- Continental Automotive Czech Republic S.R.O. (auto parts)
- Finitrading, A.S. (metallurgy)
Czech Republic’s capital city is Prague.
See also Czech Republic’s Top Trading Partners and Czech Republic’s Top 10 Imports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on September 7, 2019
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 7, 2019
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 28, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 7, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 7, 2019
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on September 7, 2019
Wikipedia, List of Companies of the Czech Republic. Accessed on September 7, 2019
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 28, 2019
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Prague, Czech Republic. Accessed on September 7, 2019