A landlocked central European nation that shares its western border with economic powerhouse Germany, the Czech Republic shipped $198.4 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 26.2% increase since 2015 and a -2% downtick from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Czech koruna appreciated by -6.8% against the US dollar since 2015 but declined by -5.5% from 2018 to 2019. Czech Republic’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 77.8% of products exported from Czech Republic were bought by importers in: Germany (31.8% of the global total), Slovakia (7.6%), Poland (6%), France (5.1%), United Kingdom (4.5%), Austria (4.3%), Netherlands (3.8%), Italy (also 3.8%), Hungary (3.3%), Spain (3.2%), United States (2.3%) and Russia (2.1%).
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 89.2% of Czech exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries. Smaller percentages were sold to customers in Asia (5.8%), North America (2.9%), Africa (1.1%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.4%) then Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (0.3%).
The Czech Republic’s population was 10.6 million people as of July 2019. Therefore, its total $198.4 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $10,700 for every resident in the central European country.
Czech Republic’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Czech global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from the Czech Republic.
- Vehicles: US$40.5 billion (20.4% of total exports)
- Machinery including computers: $39.3 billion (19.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $36.4 billion (18.3%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $6.9 billion (3.5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $6.7 billion (3.4%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: $5.3 billion (2.7%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $4.2 billion (2.1%)
- Iron, steel: $4 billion (2%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $3.9 billion (2%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $3.7 billion (1.8%)
Czech Republic’s top 10 exports accounted for over three-quarters (76.1%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Optical, technical and medical apparatus was the lone gainer among the top 10 export categories, up by 0.1% since 2018.
The leading decliner among Czech Republic’s top 10 export categories was iron and steel via a -15.3% drop from 2018 to 2019.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, the Czech Republic’s most valuable exported products were cars (11.4%), automobile parts or accessories (7.6%), computers including optical readers (6.5%), phone system devices including smartphones (5.6%), seats excluding barber and dentist chairs (1.6%), insulated wire or cable (1.5%), lower-voltage switches and fuses (1.4%), then models, puzzles and miscellaneous toys (1.2%).
Overall Czechia posted a $21.8 billion trade surplus in 2019, up 24.1% from $17.6 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$22.2 billion (Up by 0.03% since 2018)
- Machinery including computers: $9.2 billion (Up by 8.3%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $1.9 billion (Down by -8.6%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $1.7 billion (Down by -17.9%)
- Toys, games: $1.6 billion (Down by -9.2%)
- Wood: $1.4 billion (Up by 2.8%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $1.2 billion (Down by -3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $1 billion (Up by 68.3%)
- Glass: $865.6 million (Down by -10.2%)
- Miscellaneous manufactured articles: $694 million (Up by 5.7%)
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$6.1 billion (Down by -16.5% since 2018)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$2.6 billion (Down by -4.5%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$2.4 billion (Up by 4.7%)
- Iron, steel: -$2 billion (Down by -9.7%)
- Meat: -$1.1 billion (Up by 3.8%)
- Other chemical goods: -$869.3 million (Down by -20.7%)
- Copper: -$817.1 million (Down by -10.9%)
- Aluminum: -$781.7 million (Down by -14.9%)
- Fruits, nuts: -$644.2 million (Down by -4.9%)
- Ores, slag, ash: -$630.9 million (Up by 9%)
Czechia has highly negative net exports 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)
In macroeconomic terms, Czechia’s total exported goods represent 48% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($413.1 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 48% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 51.1%. This seems to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for the Czech Republic’s total economic performance albeit based on a very short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Czechia’s average unemployment rate was 2.2% for 2019 down from 2.243% one year earlier, according to the International Monetary Fund.
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 February 21, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 21, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 21, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 21, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 21, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on February 21, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of the Czech Republic. Accessed on February 21, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 28, 2019
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Prague, Czech Republic. Accessed on February 21, 2020