An Arabian kingdom in Western Asia located on the East Bank of the Jordan River, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan shipped an estimated US$6 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -22.9% decrease since 2015 and a -22.1% drop from 2018 to 2019.
From a continental perspective and based on the latest available data from 2018, about 60% of Jordanian exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries. Another 27% was sold to importers in North America with 4.1% going to Europe. Smaller percentages arrived in Latin America (0.4%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (0.1%) led by Australia.
Given Jordan’s population of 10.1 million people, its total $6 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $600 for each resident in the Western Asian nation.
Jordan’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Jordanian global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Jordan.
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: US$1.6 billion (26.5% of total exports)
- Inorganic chemicals: $858.3 million (14.2%)
- Fertilizers: $661.9 million (11%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $533.7 million (8.8%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $366 million (6.1%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $297.9 million (4.9%)
- Organic chemicals: $255.7 million (4.2%)
- Gems, precious metals: $177.5 million (2.9%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $115.3 million (1.9%)
- Machinery including computers: $96.2 million (1.6%)
Jordan’s top 10 exports accounted for over four-fifths (82.3%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Organic chemicals represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 1,478% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales were unknit and non-crocheted clothing and accessories via a 478% gain. Jordan’s shipments of inorganic chemicals posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 114.1%.
The leading decliner among Jordan’s top 10 export categories were pharmaceuticals thanks to a -55.3% drop year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Jordan’s most valuable exported products are knitted or crocheted jerseys and pullovers (10.2% of total) trailed by potassic fertilizers (7.9%), phosphoric or polyphosphoric acids (5.6%), natural calcium phosphates (5.9%), unknitted and non-crocheted women’s clothing (5%), knitted or crocheted women’s clothing (4.1%), phenol derivates (4%), knitted or crocheted men’s suits and trousers (3.7%) and fertilizer mixes (3%).
The following types of Jordanian 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.
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: US$1.3 billion (Down by -3.1% since 2018)
- Inorganic chemicals: $788.9 million (Up by 138.8%)
- Fertilizers: $635.1 million (Down by -18.6%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $305.4 million (Down by -15.2%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $264 million (Up by 1866.4%)
- Vegetables: $24.3 million (Down by -88.6%)
- Lead: $10.6 million (Down by -24.2%)
- Textile floor coverings: $6.4 million (Reversing a -$4.1 million deficit)
- Copper: $4.9 million (Reversing a -$110.9 million deficit)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $2.5 million (Down by -25.3%)
Jordan has highly positive net exports in the international trade of knitted or crocheted clothing and accessories. In turn, these cashflows indicate Jordan’s strong competitive advantages under the knit or crochet clothing and accessories product category.
Overall Jordan incurred a -$9.9 billion trade deficit for 2019, down -20.8% from -$12.9 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Jordan that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Jordan’s goods trail Jordanian importer spending on foreign products.
- Vehicles: -US$2 billion (Up by 32% since 2018)
- Machinery including computers: -$1.2 billion (Down by -8.6%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$1.1 billion (Up by 13.5%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$801.5 million (Down by -80.5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$745.1 million (Up by 60.7%)
- Knit or crochet fabric: -$583.8 million (Up by 0.9%)
- Cereals: -$578.7 million (Down by -19.4%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$346.3 million (Up by 60.5%)
- Meat: -$324.6 million (Down by -1.9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$312.8 million (Reversing an $87 million surplus)
Jordan has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits particularly for cars, trucks and tractors under the vehicles product category.
Jordanian Export Companies
One Jordanian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000, namely Arab Bank.
Wikipedia lists companies from Jordan that engage in international trade. Selected examples are shown below.
- Aqaba Railway Corporation (industrial transportation)
- Arab Bridge Maritime (industrial transportation)
- Jordan Petroleum Refinery Company (oil, gas)
- Jordan Phosphate Mines (chemicals)
- Jordan Steel (basic materials)
- King Hussein International Airport (industrial transportation)
- Queen Alia International Airport (industrial transportation)
In macroeconomic terms, Jordan’s total exported goods represent 6.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($97.2 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 6.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 8.3% for 2018. Those metrics suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Jordan’s total economic performance albeit based on a relatively short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Jordan’s unemployment rate was 19.3% at March 2020, up from 19% one year earlier according to Trading Economics.
Jordan’s capital city is Amman, historically named Rabbath Ammon meaning the “Capital” or the “King’s Quarters”.
See also Saudi Arabia’s Top 10 Exports, Qatar’s Top 10 Exports and Top Middle Eastern Export Countries
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 19, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 19, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 19, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 19, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 19, 2020
Wikipedia, Jordan. Accessed on June 19, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Jordan. Accessed on June 19, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 19, 2020
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Amman, Jordan. Accessed on June 19, 2020