Macedonia’s Top 10 Exports

Macedonia's flag


A Balkan country in southeastern Europe, the Republic of Macedonia shipped US$5.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017.

That dollar amount reflects a 31.9% increase since 2013 and an 18.5% gain from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Macedonia’s exported goods plus services represent 54% of total Macedonian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes a sizable share of re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, 94.7% of Macedonian exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries despite the fact that Macedonia has not yet been accepted in the European Union. Another 3.8% of Macedonia’s export products were sold to Asian importers, trailed by 1.1% for North America and 0.2% for customers in Africa.

Given Macedonia’s population of 2.1 million people, its total $5.7 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $2,700 for every resident in the southeastern European nation.

Macedonia’s unemployment rate was 21.6% at March 2018 per Trading Economics, down from 23.1% as of December 2016.

Macedonia’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Macedonian global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Macedonia.

At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Macedonia’s most valuable export goods are catalytic devices, centrifuges, filters and purifiers, and insulated wire or cable.

  1. Other chemical goods: US$1.2 billion (20.6% of total exports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $758.9 million (13.4%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $644.3 million (11.4%)
  4. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $412.5 million (7.3%)
  5. Iron, steel: $367.9 million (6.5%)
  6. Vehicles: $256.5 million (4.5%)
  7. Furniture, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $224.4 million (4%)
  8. Articles of iron or steel: $210.2 million (3.7%)
  9. Ores, slag, ash: $201.6 million (3.6%)
  10. Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $159.3 million (2.8%)

Macedonia’s top 10 exports accounted for over three-quarters (77.6%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Ores, slag and ash was the fastest-growing top 10 export category, up by 60.7% from 2016 to 2017. This was due mainly to Macedonia’s higher international sales of lead, copper and zinc ores and concentrates.

In second place for improving export sales was the electrical machinery and equipment category which rose 42.7% year over year.

Macedonia’s exported vehicles posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 41.2%.

The slowest-increasing top 10 product category was iron and steel via its 1.9% gain.


The following types of Macedonian 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.

  1. Other chemical goods: US$979.2 million (Up by 20.8% since 2016)
  2. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $365.2 million (Up by 1.1%)
  3. Ores, slag, ash: $169.6 million (Up by 68.7%)
  4. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $141.3 million (Up by 63.1%)
  5. Machinery including computers: $119.9 million (Up by 5.6%)
  6. Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $116.9 million (Up by 32.5%)
  7. Articles of iron or steel: $77.9 million (Up by 84.2%)
  8. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $70.6 million (Up by 1.5%)
  9. Vegetables: $48 million (Down by -22.2%)
  10. Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $37.3 million (Up by 253%)

Macedonia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of miscellaneous chemical products. In turn, these cashflows indicate Macedonia’s strong competitive advantages under the other chemical goods category.


Overall, Macedonia incurred a -$2 billion trade deficit for 2017 up 3.9% from one year earlier.

Below are exports from Macedonia that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Macedonia’s goods trail Macedonian importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Gems, precious metals: -US$961.6 million (Up by 15.7% since 2016)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: -$668.9 million (Up by 20.6%)
  3. Ceramic products: -$326.6 million (Up by 21.2%)
  4. Plastics, plastic articles: -$226.2 million (Up by 8.1%)
  5. Vehicles: -$118.3 million (Down by -27.1%)
  6. Meat: -$109.1 million (Up by 20.8%)
  7. Cotton: -$101 million (Up by 6.8%)
  8. Paper, paper items: -$93.8 million (Up by 4.9%)
  9. Manmade staple fibers: -$89.6 million (Up by 3.5%)
  10. Coated/laminated textile fabric: -$85.8 million (Up by 25.9%)

Most notably, Macedonia has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for platinum under the gems and precious metals category.


Macedonian Export Companies

Not one Macedonian corporation ranks among the companies on the Forbes Global 2000.

Wikipedia lists export-related businesses from Macedonia. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Aktiva (steel)
  • Alkaloid (pharmaceuticals)
  • FAS Sanos (commercial vehicles, trucks)
  • Makpetrol (oil, gas)
  • OKTA (oil, gas)
  • ONE.VIP (mobile telecommunications)
  • Teteks (textiles, clothing)
  • Tutunski kombinat Prilep (tobacco)

Macedonia’s capital city is Skopje, the birthplace for Mother Teresa.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Bulgaria’s Top Trading Partners, United Kingdom’s Top Trading Partners and Capital Facts for Skopje, Macedonia

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 25, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on June 25, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on June 25, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 25, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Macedonia. Accessed on June 25, 2018

Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 25, 2018