An Arabian kingdom in Western Asia located on the East Bank of the Jordan River, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan shipped US$7.8 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a -7.5% dip since 2014 but a 3.8% gain from 2017 to 2018.
From a continental perspective, 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 10.5 million people, its total $7.8 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $750 for each resident in the Western Asian nation.
In macroeconomic terms, Jordan’s total exported goods represent 8.3% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($93.4 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 8.3% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 9.6% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Jordan’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Jordan also provided $7.3 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 7.8% of GDP in PPP.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Jordan’s unemployment rate was 19% at March 2019 up from 18.4% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.
Jordan’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Jordanian global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Jordan.
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: US$1.7 billion (21.4% of total exports)
- Fertilizers: $809.8 million (10.4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $667.7 million (8.6%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $443.3 million (5.7%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $401.5 million (5.2%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $304.6 million (3.9%)
- Vegetables: $296.5 million (3.8%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $270.8 million (3.5%)
- Machinery including computers: $214 million (2.8%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $181.9 million (2.3%)
Jordan’s top 10 exports accounted for over two-thirds (67.7%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Fertilizers was the fastest-growing among Jordan’s top 10 export categories, up by 23.3% from 2017 to 2018.
In second place for improving export sales were knit or crochet clothing and accessories which appreciated by 10.6%.
Exports of inorganic chemicals from Jordan posted the third-fastest gain in value thanks to its 4.4% appreciation.
Leading the decliners among the top 10 Jordanian export categories was aircraft and spacecraft which retreated by -28.1%.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Jordan’s most valuable exported products are knitted or crocheted miscellaneous garments (19.4% of total) trailed by potassic fertilizers (7%), medication mixes in dosage (5.6%), natural calcium phosphates (4.7%), nitrogenous fertilizers (3%), medication mixes not in dosage (2.7%), aircraft parts (2.3%) then tomatoes (2.2%).
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$1.4 billion (Up by 15.2% since 2017)
- Fertilizers: $776.4 million (Up by 25.1%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $357 million (Down by -13.8%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $330.9 million (Up by 1.3%)
- Vegetables: $214.2 million (Down by -20.6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $87.3 million (Down by -21.3%)
- Lead: $14 million (Up by 16.6%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $13.4 million (Reversing a -$23.2 million deficit)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $3.3 million (Down by -20.6%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $608,000 (Reversing a -$630,000 deficit)
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 -$12.6 billion trade deficit for 2018, down -2.9% 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.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US-$4.1 billion (Up by 21% since 2017)
- Vehicles: -$1.5 billion (Down by -23.9%)
- Machinery including computers: -$1.3 billion (Down by -26.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$951.6 million (Up by 10.1%)
- Cereals: -$702.3 million (Up by 4.3%)
- Knit or crochet fabric: -$579.6 million (Up by 14.2%)
- Iron, steel: -$464.7 million (Up by 19.5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$464.3 million (Up by 6%)
- Meat: -$331.4 million (Down by -4.2%)
- Organic chemicals: -$304.8 million (Up by 20.2%)
Jordan has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits particularly for petroleum oils, petroleum gas and, to a lesser degree, coal and petroleum coke.
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)
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 March 30, 2019
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 3, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 30, 2019
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on July 3, 2019
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 3, 2019
Wikipedia, Jordan. Accessed on March 30, 2019
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Jordan. Accessed on March 30, 2019
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 3, 2019
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Amman, Jordan. Accessed on March 30, 2019