A landlocked Eastern European nation surrounded by Ukraine and Romania, the Republic of Moldova shipped US$3.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects an 13.6% uptick from 2018 to 2019 and a 56.3% increase since 2015.
The latest available country-specific data from 2018 shows that 79.4% of products exported from Moldova were bought by importers in: Romania (29.3% of the global total), Italy (11.4%), Germany (8.1%), Russia (also 8.1%), Turkey (4%), Poland (3.6%), Belarus (3.2%), Ukraine (3%), United Kingdom (2.9%), Switzerland (2.2%), Bulgaria (1.8%) and France (also 1.8%).
From a continental perspective, 86.2% of Moldova’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 9.9% were sold to importers in Asia. Smaller percentages went to North America (1%), Africa (0.8%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.1%) then Oceania’s Australia and New Zealand only (0.01%).
Given Moldova’s population of 4.04 million people, its total $3.1 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $760 for every resident in the Eastern European country.
Moldova’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Moldovan global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Moldova.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$572.3 million (18.6% of total exports)
- Oil seeds: $335.4 million (10.9%)
- Fruits, nuts: $308.6 million (10%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $289.1 million (9.4%)
- Cereals: $219.5 million (7.1%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: $166.7 million (5.4%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $152.9 million (5%)
- Iron, steel: $142.4 million (4.6%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $97.8 million (3.2%)
- Footwear: $80.5 million (2.6%)
Moldova’s top 10 exports accounted for 76.9% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Iron and steel represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 3,989% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was footwear via a 123.4% gain. Moldova’s shipments of fruits and nuts posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 48.6%.
The leading decliner among Moldova’s top 10 export categories was beverages, spirits and vinegar thanks to a -30.6% drop year over year.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, insulated wire or cable represents Moldova’s most valuable exported product at 16.8% of the country’s total. In second place was sunflower seeds (9%) trailed by seats excluding barber and dentist chairs (3.9%), corn (3.6%), apples (3.5%), wheat (3.2%) and wine (also 3.2%).
The following types of Moldovan 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.
- Oil seeds: US$300.1 million (Up by 56.1% since 2018)
- Fruits, nuts: $270.9 million (Up by 98.9%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $249.4 million (Up by 75.4%)
- Cereals: $199.4 million (Down by -0.8%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: $118.6 million (Up by 30.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $115.5 million (Reversing a -$38.6 million deficit)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $98.8 million (Down by -37.5%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $64.4 million (Up by 83.6%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $61.7 million (Up by 33.6%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $57.7 million (Up by 134%)
Moldova has highly positive net exports in the international trade of oil seeds. In turn, these cashflows indicate Moldova’s strong competitive advantages under the oil seeds product category.
Overall Moldova incurred a -$3.1 billion product trade deficit for 2019, up by 27.1% from -$2.4 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Moldova that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Moldova’s goods trail Moldovan importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$633.7 million (Down by -5.5% since 2018)
- Machinery including computers: -$408.8 million (Down by -3.1%)
- Vehicles: -$379.7 million (Up by 10.5%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$172.5 million (Down by -0.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$168.7 million (Down by -27.7%)
- Other chemical goods: -$92.7 million (Down by -10.5%)
- Fertilizers: -$87.8 million (Up by 0.4%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$86.2 million (Down by -21.9%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: -$62.6 million (Up by 19.5%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$58.2 million (Down by -12.4%)
Moldova has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels-related product category, notably for refined petroleum oils, petroleum gases then petroleum coke and coal.
Moldovan Export-Related Businesses
Not one Moldovan corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2018.
According to listings on leading trade portal Alibaba.com, the following exporters are examples of leading Moldovan companies. Shown within brackets is the primary products for each business.
- Argotour Trading Group (live sheep, cattle)
- Biz-Agro SRL (corn, wheat, barley, sunflower seeds)
- Colombus SRL (wafers, biscuits)
- G.T Botezatu (plums, grapes)
- Lion-Gri SRL (alcoholic beverages)
- Nuts Export SRL (walnuts)
Wikipedia also lists exports-related companies from Moldova. Selected examples are shown below.
- Acorex (wine)
- Aerotrans Cargo (cargo airliner)
- Ascom Group (oil, gas)
- Moldova Steel Works (steel, steel products)
- Romănești (wine)
- Tiraspoltransgas (gas)
In macroeconomic terms, Moldova’s total exported goods represent 11.3% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($27.3 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 11.3% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 10.5% for 2018. Those metrics suggest relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Moldova’s total economic performance albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Moldova’s average unemployment rate was 3.022% for 2019, same as one year earlier per the International Monetary Fund.
Moldova’s capital city is Chisinau.
See also Romania’s Top 10 Exports, Ukraine’s Top 10 Exports and European Union’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Europe: Moldova. Accessed on June 3, 2020
Forbes 2019 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 3, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 3, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 3, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 3, 2020
Pixabay, Moldova’s national flag. Accessed on June 3, 2020
Wikipedia, Companies of Moldova. Accessed on June 3, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 3, 2020
Wikipedia, Moldova. Accessed on June 3, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 3, 2020
WorldOMeter, Moldova Population. Accessed on June 3, 2020