A landlocked Eastern European nation surrounded by Ukraine and Romania, the Republic of Moldova shipped US$2.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects an 11.6% uptick from 2017 to 2018 and a 15.7% increase since 2014.
The latest data shows that 75.8% of products exported from Moldova were bought by importers in: Romania (29.3% of the global total), Italy (11.4%), Germany (8.1%), Russia (8.1%), Turkey (4%), Poland (3.6%), Belarus (3.2%), Ukraine (3%), United Kingdom (2.9%) and Switzerland (2.2%).
From a continental perspective, 86.2% of Moldova exports by value were delivered to Europe countries while 9.9% were sold to Asian importers. Moldova shipped another 1% worth of goods to North American, with even smaller percentages going to Africa (0.8%), Latin America (0.1%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.01%) specifically Australia and New Zealand.
Given Moldova’s population of 3.4 million people, its total $2.7 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $800 for every resident in the Eastern European country.
In macroeconomic terms, Moldova’s total exported goods represent 10.5% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($25.9 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 10.5% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 12.9% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Moldova’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Moldova also provided $1.5 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 5.7% of GDP in PPP.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Moldova’s unemployment rate was 2.9% at December 2018, down from 3.3% one year earlier, per Trading Economics.
Moldova’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Moldovan global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Moldova.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$346.4 million (14.3% of total exports)
- Oil seeds: $242.8 million (10%)
- Fruits, nuts: $221.6 million (9.1%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $205.4 million (8.5%)
- Cereals: $182.9 million (7.5%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $175.6 million (7.2%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $143.7 million (5.9%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $99.4 million (4.1%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $69.6 million (2.9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $62.7 million (2.6%)
Moldova’s top 10 exports accounted for 75% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Electrical machinery and equipment was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 52% year over year since 2017.
In second place for improving export sales was animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes. That category rose 24.5%.
Moldova’s shipments of cereals posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 21.7% year over year, led by corn.
The leading decliner among the top 10 Moldova export categories was fruits and nuts which fell -6.3%.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, insulated wire or cable represents Moldova’s most valuable exported product at 17.7% of the country’s total. In second place was sunflower seeds (7.4%) trailed by wine (5.1%), seats excluding barber and dentist chairs (4.8%), corn (4.1%), miscellaneous nuts (3.6%), wheat (3.5%) medication mixes in dosage (2.6%), sun, safflower or cotton-seed oil (2.4%) then unknit and crochet women’s clothing (1.9%).
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.
- Cereals: US$201 million (Up by 21.1% since 2017)
- Oil seeds: $192.3 million (Down by -6.7%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $158.2 million (Up by 6.1%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $142.2 million (Up by 13.4%)
- Fruits, nuts: $136.2 million (Down by -18.6%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $91.1 million (Up by 18.3%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $46.1 million (Up by 64.9%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $35.1 million (Up by 13.2%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $24.7 million (Down by -48.8%)
- Textile floor coverings: $7.5 million (Down by -18.6%)
Moldova has highly positive net exports in the international trade of corn, wheat and barley. In turn, these cashflows indicate Moldova’s strong competitive advantages under the cereals product category.
Overall Moldova incurred a -$3.1 billion product trade deficit for 2018, 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$670.8 million (Up by 29.5% since 2017)
- Machinery including computers: -$422.1 million (Up by 28.6%)
- Vehicles: -$343.7 million (Up by 30.4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$233.5 million (Up by 17.2%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$172.9 million (Up by 7.4%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$110.4 million (Up by 20.0%)
- Iron, steel: -$107.9 million (Up by 32.6%)
- Other chemical goods: -$103.6 million (Up by 25.4%)
- Wood: -$101.0 million (Up by 9.9%)
- Fertilizers: -$87.4 million (Up by 35.7%)
Moldova has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels-related product category, particularly 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 2017.
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)
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
Forbes 2018 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 27, 2019
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 4, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 4, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 27, 2019
Pixabay, Moldova’s national flag. Accessed on April 27, 2019
The World Factbook, Europe: Moldova. Accessed on April 27, 2019
Wikipedia, Companies of Moldova. Accessed on April 27, 2019
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 4, 2019
Wikipedia, Moldova. Accessed on April 27, 2019
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 4, 2019
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Chisinau, Moldova. Accessed on April 27, 2019