An island nation in the Indian Ocean near the East African coast, Madagascar’s imports totaled US$3.9 billion in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 31.6% increase since 2015 but a -0.8% slowdown from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Malagasy ariary has depreciated by -23.5% against the US dollar since 2015 and declined by -8.7% from 2018 to 2019. Madagascar’s weaker local currency makes Malagasy imports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively more expensive when converted starting from Malagasy national currency.
From a continental perspective, 62.2% of Madagascar’s total imports by value in 2019 were purchased from Asian countries. European trade partners supplied 21.2% of import purchases by Madagascar while 11.7% worth of goods originated from fellow African traders. Smaller percentage came from North America (2.6%), Latin America (1.8%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (0.4%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Madagascar’s population of 27.1 million people, its total $3.9 billion in 2019 imports translates to roughly $150 in yearly product demand from every person in the East African country.
Madagascar’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Madagascar’s import purchases during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Madagascar.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$685.2 million (17.6% of total imports)
- Machinery including computers: $289.9 million (7.4%)
- Vehicles: $281.4 million (7.2%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $180.7 million (4.6%)
- Cereals: $164.3 million (4.2%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $146.2 million (3.8%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $141.3 million (3.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $132.4 million (3.4%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $115.6 million (3%)
- Cotton: $103.3 million (2.7%)
Madagascar’s top 10 imports approach three-fifths (57.5%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Imported pharmaceuticals posted the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 18.3% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving import purchases were vehicles, up 14.7%. Malagasy imports of plastics including articles made from plastic delivered the third-fastest gain up 2.2%.
Leading the decliners was the cereals subcategory via a -33.3% decrease, weighted down by slowing purchases of Madagascar’s rice on international markets.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
In 2019, Malagasy importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Processed petroleum oils: US$621.5 million (up 0.8% from 2018)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $43.3 million (down -8.9%)
- Petroleum gases: $10.4 million (down -12.3%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $8.6 million (up 73%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $820,000 (down -12.2%)
- Natural bitumen, asphalt, shale: $295,000 (up 123.5%)
- Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $164,000 (up 21.5%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $49,000 (up 14%)
- Peat: $23,000 (up 2,200%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $14,000 (up 7.7%)
Among these import subcategories, Madagascar’s purchases of peat (up 2,200%), natural bitumen, asphalt and shale (up 123.5%) then petroleum oil residues (up 73%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of mineral fuels-related imports among Malagasy businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Malagasy importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.
- Liquid pumps and elevators: US$27.7 million (up 0.5% from 2018)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $27.2 million (down -11.4%)
- Computers, optical readers: $16.3 million (up 15.3%)
- Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $15 million (down -34.8%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $13 million (up 0.7%)
- Refrigerators, freezers: $11.9 million (up 3.3%)
- Industrial preparation machinery: $9.7 million (down -47.1%)
- Transmission shafts, gears, clutches: $9.6 million (up 16.1%)
- Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines: $9.4 million (up 49.3%)
- Printing machinery: $9.2 million (up 2.5%)
Among these import subcategories, Madagascar’s purchases of derricks and cranes (up 319%), temperature-change machines (up 132.5%) and industrial preparation machinery (up 62.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
Among these import subcategories, Madagascar’s purchases of dishwashing or cleaning, drying and filling machines (up 49.3%), transmission shafts, gears and clutches (up 16.1%) then computers including optical readers (up 15.3%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of machinery-related imports among Malagasy businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Malagasy importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.
- Trucks: US$130.4 million (up 56.5% from 2018)
- Cars: $79 million (up 18.2%)
- Motorcycles: $17 million (down -24.9%)
- Tractors: $14 million (down -44.4%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $13.5 million (down -3.4%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $7 million (down -22.2%)
- Special purpose vehicles: $6.2 million (up 97.8%)
- Trailers: $6.2 million (down -52.1%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $4.9 million (down -16.9%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $1.3 million (down -19.8%)
Among these import subcategories, Madagascar’s purchases of special purpose vehicles (up 97.8%), trucks (up 56.5%) then cars (up 18.2%) grew from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of vehicles-related imports among Malagasy businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Malagasy importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electric goods including consumer electronics.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$28.3 million (down -12.5% from 2018)
- Electric storage batteries: $14.9 million (up 45.8%)
- Electric generating sets, converters: $14.7 million (up 28%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $14.4 million (down -20.4%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $12 million (down -22.9%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $11.7 million (down -6.2%)
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $10.3 million (down -57.2%)
- Electric motors, generators: $9.5 million (up 104.5%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $9 million (down -12.5%)
- Primary batteries/cells: $8.9 million (up 5.1%)
Among these import subcategories, Madagascar’s purchases of electric motors and generators (up 104.5%), electric storage batteries (up 45.8%) then electric generating sets and converters (up 28%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of electric items including consumer electronics among Malagasy businesses and consumers.
See also Madagascar’s Top Trading Partners and Madagascar’s Top 10 Exports
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International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on January 27, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on January 27, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on January 27, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Madagascar. Accessed on January 27, 2020
Wikipedia, Madagascar. Accessed on January 27, 2020