Located in the Baltic region of northeastern Europe east of Sweden and Denmark, the Republic of Lithuania shipped US$33.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 30.4% appreciation since 2015 but a -0.6% downtick from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, Lithuania uses the euro which appreciated by 0.9% against the US dollar since 2015 but declined by -5.5% from 2018 to 2019. The weaker EU currency in 2019 made Lithuania’s exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers compared to 2018.
From a continental perspective, 83.9% of Lithuania exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 9% were sold to Asian importers. Lithuania shipped another 4.3% worth of goods to North America. Smaller percentages went to Africa (1.7%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.4%) then Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (0.2%).
Given Lithuania’s population of 2.8 million people, its total $33.1 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $11,900 for every resident in the Baltic country.
Lithuania’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Lithuanian global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Lithuania.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$4.5 billion (13.6% of total exports)
- Machinery including computers: $2.7 billion (8.3%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: $2.6 billion (7.7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $2.2 billion (6.5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $2 billion (6.2%)
- Vehicles: $1.8 billion (5.5%)
- Wood: $1.2 billion (3.7%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $948 million (2.9%)
- Fertilizers: $938.5 million (2.8%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $894.3 million (2.7%)
Lithuania’s top 10 exports accounted for three-fifths (59.9%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Vehicles represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 17.4% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales were optical, technical and medical apparatus via a 7.9% increase. Lithuania’s shipments of fertilizers posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 6.5%.
The leading decliner among Lithuania’s top 10 export categories was mineral fuels including oil which fell -7.8% year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Lithuania’s most valuable exported products were processed petroleum oils (11.4%), miscellaneous furniture (4.5%), cigars, cigarellos and cigarettes (2.2%), wheat (2.1%), polyacetal, ether, carbonates (2%), cars (also 2%), medication mixes in dosage (1.9%), seats and chairs (1.7%), nitrogenous fertilizers (1.5%) then fertilizer mixes (1.3%).
The following types of Lithuanian 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.
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs and prefabricated buildings: US$2 billion (Up by 2.5% since 2018)
- Cereals: $711.2 million (Up by 78.5%)
- Fertilizers: $550.5 million (Up by 0.4%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $524 million (Down by -22%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $480.9 million (Up by 6%)
- Wood: $435.9 million (Down by -6.1%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: $304.3 million (Up by 8%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $183.2 million (Up by 42.5%)
- Other chemical goods: $161.7 million (Down by -19.1%)
- Milling products, malt, starches: $152.2 million (Up by 14.3%)
Lithuania has highly positive net exports in the international trade of furniture, lighting, signs and prefabricated buildings. In turn, these cashflows indicate Lithuania’s strong competitive advantages under this product category.
Overall Lithuania incurred a -$2.5 billion trade deficit for 2019, down by -21.4% from the -$3.2 billion in red ink during 2018.
Below are exports from Lithuania that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Lithuania’s goods trail Lithuanian importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$2 billion (Down by -10.4% since 2018)
- Vehicles: -$1.7 billion (Down by -14.8%)
- Machinery including computers: -$832.9 million (Down by -4.8%)
- Organic chemicals: -$621.7 million (Down by -20.1%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$496.4 million (Up by 44.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$470.8 million (Up by 11.6%)
- Iron, steel: -$315.9 million (Up by 13.5%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: -$237.7 million (Down by -10.3%)
- Fruits, nuts: -$182 million (Down by -15.6%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: -$174.6 million (Down by -0.1%)
Lithuania has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels-related category, notably for crude oil, petroleum gases and electricity.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Lithuania’s competitive disadvantages in the international fossil fuel market, but also represent key opportunities for Lithuania to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations in vehicle manufacturing.
Lithuanian Export Companies
Wikipedia lists the following Lithuania-based companies involved in international trade:
- AB Stumbras (alcoholic beverages)
- Achema (fertilizers)
- Alita (alcoholic beverages)
- Dvarčionių keramika (ceramics)
- EKSPLA (photonics, lasers)
In macroeconomic terms, Lithuania’s total exported goods represent 32.4% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($102.2 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 32.4% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 34.4% one year earlier. This seems to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Lithuania’s total economic performance albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Lithuania’s average unemployment rate was 6.106% for 2019 down from 6.146% one year earlier, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Lithuania’s capital city is Vilnius.
See also Lithuania’s Top Trading Partners and Lithuania’s Top 10 Imports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on February 22, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 22, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 22, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 22, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 22, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on February 22, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Lithuania. Accessed on February 22, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on February 22, 2020