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$25.9 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a -9.9% drop since 2013 but a 15.3% gain from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Egypt’s exported goods plus services represent 13.5% of total Egyptian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, $11.8 billion or 45.5% of Egyptian exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while almost a third (32.6%) were sold to importers in Europe. Egypt shipped another 14% worth of goods to Africa with 5.6% going to North America and 0.9% arriving in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.

Given Egypt’s population of 97 million people, its total $25.9 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $270 for every resident in the transcontinental country.

Egypt’s unemployment rate was 11.3% at December 2017, 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 2017. 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 most valuable exported products are refined petroleum oils followed by gold, crude oil, nitrogenous fertilizers, insulated wire or cable then fresh or dried citrus fruit.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$5.1 billion (19.5% of total exports)
  2. Gems, precious metals: $2.1 billion (8.2%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $1.7 billion (6.7%)
  4. Plastics, plastic articles: $1.5 billion (5.8%)
  5. Fruits, nuts: $1.3 billion (4.9%)
  6. Vegetables: $1.1 billion (4.1%)
  7. Fertilizers: $1.1 billion (4.1%)
  8. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $910.7 million (3.5%)
  9. Iron, steel: $859.4 million (3.3%)
  10. Perfumes, cosmetics: $542.8 million (2.1%)

Egypt’s top 10 exports accounted for 62.1% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Iron and steel was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 88% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving export sales was the mineral fuels including oil category which appreciated by 56.8%.

Egyptian plastics and plastic articles posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 27.9%, trailed by exported fertilizers from Egypt and its 24.2% improvement.

The sole decliner among the top 10 Egyptian export categories was gems and precious metals which fell by -20.3% overall led by shrinking international sales of gold.


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$1.9 billion (Down by -25.1% since 2016)
  2. Fruits, nuts: $935.2 million (Up by 35.7%)
  3. Fertilizers: $924.1 million (Up by 23.4%)
  4. Vegetables: $610.1 million (Up by 48.7%)
  5. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $578 million (Up by 92.7%)
  6. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $384.2 million (Up by 23.9%)
  7. Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $340.6 million (Up by 34.3%)
  8. Textile floor coverings: $266.6 million (Down by -1%)
  9. Perfumes, cosmetics: $260 million (Up by 29.4%)
  10. Glass: $256 million (Up by 36.8%)

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 -$40.4 billion product trade deficit for 2017, up by 13.6% for the -$35.5 billion in red ink one year earlier.

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. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$6.5 billion (Up by 28.1% since 2016)
  2. Machinery including computers: -$5.6 billion (Up by 7.8%)
  3. Cereals: -$4.4 billion (Up by 43.3%)
  4. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$3.1 billion (Up by 23.4%)
  5. Vehicles: -$3 billion (Down by -32.1%)
  6. Articles of iron or steel: -$2.5 billion (Up by 20.9%)
  7. Iron, steel: -$2.4 billion (Down by -0.02%)
  8. Pharmaceuticals: -$1.9 billion (Up by 17.5%)
  9. Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.7 billion (Up by 9.1%)
  10. Meat: -$1.5 billion (Up by 10.1%)

Egypt has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil category particularly for petroleum gases and refined petroleum oils.


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 Egypt’s Top 10 Imports, Somalia’s Top 10 Exports and Top African Export Countries

Research Sources:, Flag of Egypt. Accessed on April 8, 2018

Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 8, 2018

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 8, 2018

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 8, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 8, 2018

The World Factbook, Africa: Egypt. Accessed on April 8, 2018

Wikipedia, Egypt. Accessed on April 8, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Egypt. Accessed on April 8, 2018

World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Cairo, Egypt. Accessed on April 8, 2018