An island country in the South Pacific Ocean northeast of New Zealand, the Republic of Fiji shipped US$1.041 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a -24.2% decline since 2014 but an 8.9% increase from 2017 to 2018.
The latest data shows that 68.8% of products exported from Fiji were bought by importers in: United States (17.9% of the global total), Australia (12.9%), Japan (7.4%), New Zealand (6.6%), China (5.7%), Tonga (5%), Vanuatu (2.9%), Samoa (2.3%), Papua New Guinea (also 2.3%), Tuvalu (2.1%), Kiribati (1.8%) and United States Minor Outlying Islands (1.7%).
Given Fiji’s population of 926,276 people, its total $1.041 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $1,150 for every person living in Fiji.
In macroeconomic terms, Fiji’s total exported goods represent 11.4% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($9.1 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 11.4% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 13.5% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Fiji’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Fiji also provided $1.6 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 17.5% 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. Fiji’s unemployment rate was 6.31% in 2017 up from 6.24% one year earlier, per Trading Economics.
Fiji’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Fijian global shipments during 2019, at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Fiji.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$207.7 million (19.9% of total exports)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $134.4 million (12.9%)
- Fish: $133.3 million (12.8%)
- Gems, precious metals: $56.6 million (5.4%)
- Wood: $53.4 million (5.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $52.8 million (5.1%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $45.1 million (4.3%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $35.3 million (3.4%)
- Cereal/milk preparations: $31.1 million (3%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $24.5 million (2.4%)
Fiji’s top 10 exports accounted for 74.4% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Wood was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 289% year over year since 2017.
In second place for improving export sales was tobacco and manufactured substitutes which rose 152.3%.
Fiji ‘s shipments of mineral fuels including oil posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 54.5% thanks mainly to accelerating international sales of refined petroleum oils.
The leading decliner among Fiji’s top 10 export categories was sugar and sugar confectionery which dropped -57.1% year over year.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, processed petroleum oils represent Fiji’s most valuable exported product at 19.6% of the country’s total. In second place was mineral or aerated waters (12.1%) trailed by frozen whole fish (10.5%), gold (5.2%), fuel wood, wood chips and sawdust (4.3%), sugar (3.6%), TV receivers, transmitters and digital cameras (2.2%), whole fresh fish (2%) bread, biscuits, cakes and pastries (1.8%) then pipe, chewing, and snuff tobaccos (1.5%).
The following types of Fijian 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.
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: US$112.1 million (Up by 7.5% since 2017)
- Fish: $103.8 million (Reversing a -$14.7 million deficit)
- Gems, precious metals: $43.2 million (Down by -16.4%)
- Wood: $39.6 million (Down by -4465.2%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $36.3 million (Down by -61.9%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $18.7 million (Reversing a -$585,000 deficit)
- Cereal/milk preparations: $16.2 million (Down by -4%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $15.7 million (Up by 19.9%)
- Milling products, malt, starches: $9 million (Up by 14.7%)
- Oil seeds: $4.4 million (Up by 31.5%)
Fiji has highly positive net exports in the international trade of waters including natural or artificial mineral waters plus aerated waters. In turn, these cashflows indicate Fiji’s strong competitive advantages under the beverages, spirits and vinegar category.
Overall Fiji incurred a -$1.7 billion trade deficit for 2018, up by 14.6% from -$1.5 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Fiji that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Fiji’s goods trail Fijian importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$357.7 million (Up by 11.8% since 2017)
- Machinery including computers: -$222.2 million (Down by -2.5%)
- Vehicles: -$218.1 million (Up by 31.7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$141.5 million (Up by 15.6%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: -$111.4 million (Up by 171.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$108.1 million (Up by 16.9%)
- Cereals: -$67 million (Up by 4.9%)
- Iron, steel: -$54.4 million (Up by 3.7%)
- Paper, paper items: -$52.6 million (Up by 19.3%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$49.6 million (Up by 12%)
Fiji has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels-related category, notably for refined petroleum oils and petroleum gases.
Fijian Export Companies
Not one Fijian corporation ranks on the Forbes Global 2000 list.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Fiji. Selected examples are shown below:
- Dominion Fashions Limited (clothing)
- Falani Marketing Fiji Ltd (agricultural produce, fish)
- Fiji Recyclers (recycled tires)
- Krishna Export Handicraft (wood handicraft)
- Nelesh Kamal Co (kava)
- Organic Earth Fiji (skin care products)
- Popular Furniture Limited (home furniture)
- Scud Timber (Fiji) Ltd (sandalwood)
Fiji’s capital city is Suva.
See also Australia’s Top 10 Exports, New Zealand’s Top 10 Exports and Top Oceanian Export Countries
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Fiji. Accessed on April 27, 2019
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 27, 2019
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 4, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 4, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 27, 2019
The World Factbook, Australia-Oceania: Fiji. Accessed on April 27, 2019
Wikipedia, Fiji. Accessed on April 27, 2019
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 4, 2019
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 4, 2019
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Suva, Fiji. Accessed on April 27, 2019