Egypt’s Top 10 Exports

Egyptian flag courtesy of

Egypt flag (

A transcontinental country that spans Africa’s northeast corner to Asia’s southwest corner via the Sinai Peninsula, the Arab Republic of Egypt shipped US$22.5 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016. That dollar amount results from a -23.5% drop since 2012 contrasted with a 2.5% gain from 2015 to 2016.

Egypt’s top 10 exports accounted for 59% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Egypt’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $1.105 trillion in 2016 (on a purchasing power parity basis). Therefore, exports represent an estimated 2.04% of total Egyptian economic output.

From a continental perspective, $11 billion or 48.9% of Egyptian exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while almost a third (29.5%) were sold to importers in Europe. Egypt shipped another 12.7% worth of goods to Africa with 5% going to North America.

Given Egypt’s population of 97 million people, its total $22.5 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $230 for every resident in that country.

Egypt’s unemployment rate was 11.98% in 2016 according to estimates from Trading Economics.

Egypt’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Egyptian global shipments during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Egypt. At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Egypt’s top exported product is gold followed by crude oil, processed petroleum oils then nitrogenous fertilizers.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$3.2 billion (14.3% of total exports)
  2. Gems, precious metals: $2.7 billion (11.8%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $1.5 billion (6.8%)
  4. Fruits, nuts: $1.2 billion (5.3%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: $1.2 billion (5.2%)
  6. Vegetables: $967.1 million (4.3%)
  7. Fertilizers: $847.9 million (3.8%)
  8. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $756.6 million (3.4%)
  9. Cotton: $462.1 million (2.1%)
  10. Iron, steel: $457.2 million (2%)

Gems and precious metals was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 99.4% for the 5-year period starting in 2012 led by higher international sales of gold.

In second place for improving export sales was electrical machinery and equipment which appreciated by 33%.

Egyptian fruits and nuts posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 20.8%.

The leading decliner among the top 10 Egyptian export categories was mineral fuels especially petroleum oils and gas which fell by -63.6% overall.


The following types of Egyptian 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 is 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. Gems, precious metals: US$2.6 billion (Up by 112% since 2012)
  2. Fertilizers: $749 million (Down by -33%)
  3. Fruits, nuts: $689.3 million (Up by 26.3%)
  4. Vegetables: $410.4 million (Up by 47.8%)
  5. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $310.2 million (Down by -31.4%)
  6. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $300 million (Down by -22.2%)
  7. Textile floor coverings: $269.2 million (Down by -11.7%)
  8. Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $253.6 million (Up by 32.1%)
  9. Perfumes, cosmetics: $200.9 million (Down by -552.6%)
  10. Glass: $187.2 million (Down by -22.8%)

Egypt has highly positive net exports in the international trade of gold and, to a lesser extent, jewelry. In turn, these cashflows indicate Egypt’s strong competitive advantages under the gems and precious metals product category.


Overall, Egypt incurred a -$35.5 billion product trade deficit for 2016.

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

  1. Machinery including computers: -US$5.2 billion (Down by -3.3% since 2012)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: -$5 billion (Up by 20.4%)
  3. Vehicles : -$4.4 billion (Up by 29.4%)
  4. Cereals: -$3.1 billion (Down by -41.5%)
  5. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$2.5 billion (Down by -2.3%)
  6. Iron, steel: -$2.4 billion (Down by -32.5%)
  7. Articles of iron or steel: -$2.1 billion (Down by -4.2%)
  8. Pharmaceuticals: -$1.63 billion (Up by 18.7%)
  9. Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.55 billion (Down by -15.8%)
  10. Meat: -$1.4 billion (Up by 3.9%)

Egypt has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers category.


Egyptian Export Companies

One Egyptian regional bank ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2016, namely Cairo-based Commercial International Bank.

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

  • ABU QIR Fertilizers and Chemicals Industries (nitrogen fertilizers)
  • Al-Mansour Automotive (automobiles)
  • Arab American Vehicles (automobiles)
  • Arab Contractors (construction materials)
  • BiscoMisr (baked products)
  • Challenger Ltd (oil, gas)
  • Corona (confectionery, chocolate)
  • Egyptian Natural Gas (oil, gas)
  • Egy-Tech Engineering (automobiles)
  • Juhayna (beverages, yogurt)

Egypt’s capital city is Cairo.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Uganda’s Top 10 Exports, Somalia’s Top 10 Exports and Top African Export Countries

Research Sources:, Flag of Egypt. Accessed on September 7, 2017

Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 7, 2017

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on September 7, 2017

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 7, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 7, 2017

The World Factbook, Africa: Egypt. Accessed on September 7, 2017

Wikipedia, Egypt. Accessed on September 7, 2017

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Egypt. Accessed on September 7, 2017

World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Cairo, Egypt. Accessed on September 7, 2017