Located along Africa’s southeastern coast, the Republic of Mozambique shipped US$5.2 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 9.2% increase since 2014 and a 10.1% acceleration from 2017 to 2018.
2018 data also shows that 82.2% of products exported from Mozambique were bought by importers in: India (27.8% of the global total), South Africa (19.2%), Netherlands (9.5%), China (5.8%), Singapore (also 5.8%), United Kingdom (4.1%), Italy (3.6%), Hong Kong (2.4%), Poland (2%) then United States (1.9%).
From a continental perspective, approaching half (47.7%) of Mozambican exported goods by value were delivered to Asian nations. Another 26.3% were sold to importers in Europe while 23.3% worth arrived in fellow African countries. Mozambique exported much smaller percentages to customers in North America (2.1%) and Latin America (0.4%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Given Mozambique’s population of 27.2 million people, its total $5.2 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $190 for every resident in the southeast African nation.
In macroeconomic terms, Mozambique’s total exported goods represent 13.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($39.2 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 13.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 16.6% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Mozambique’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Mozambique also provided $673.3 million worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 1.7% of GDP in PPP.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Mozambique’s unemployment rate was an estimated 24.9% in 2019, according to Knoema’s World Data Atlas.
Mozambique’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Mozambican global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Mozambique.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$2.4 billion (46.9% of total exports)
- Aluminum: $1.3 billion (25.1%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $263.5 million (5.1%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $215.9 million (4.2%)
- Gems, precious metals: $200 million (3.9%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $191.9 million (3.7%)
- Fish: $69.2 million (1.3%)
- Fruits, nuts: $66.2 million (1.3%)
- Books, newspapers, pictures: $50.7 million (1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $45.1 million (0.9%)
Mozambique’s top 10 exports are highly concentrated, representing 93.4% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Electrical machinery and equipment was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 646.2% from 2017 to 2018.
In second place for improving export sales was the sugar including sugar confectionery category which gained 610.2%.
International sales of gems and precious metals made the third-fastest gain thanks to its 97.4% increase, mostly due to higher revenues for exported precious or semi-precious stones from Mozambique.
Fish exports appreciated by 69.3% year over year.
The severest decliner was the fruits and nuts category thanks to a -27.2% reduction year over year.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Mozambique’s most valuable exports are coke or semi-coke (18.6% of total), coal including solid fuels made from coal (14.8%), aluminum (13.4%), bars and rods made from aluminum (8.4%), electrical energy (7.8%), petroleum gases (5.4%), tobacco (4.2%) then unstrung precious or semi-precious stones (3.8%).
The following types of Mozambican 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.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$938 million (Down by -17.2% since 2017)
- Aluminum: $820.1 million (Up by 18.2%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $240.7 million (Up by 24.4%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $201.9 million (Up by 0.6%)
- Gems, precious metals: $199.2 million (Up by 97.2%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $183 million (Up by 997.8%)
- Fruits, nuts: $59.2 million (Down by -30.9%)
- Books, newspapers, pictures: $26.1 million (Up by 2.1%)
- Feathers, artificial flowers, hair: $20.4 million (Up by 607%)
- Oil seeds: $16.9 million (Up by 174.8%)
Mozambique has highly positive net exports in the international trade of coke or semi-coke, coal, electrical energy and petroleum gases. In turn, these cashflows indicate Mozambique’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels-related product category.
Mozambique incurred an overall trade deficit of -$1.7 billion during 2018, up by 54.4% from -$1.1 billion one year earlier.
Below are exports from Mozambique that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Mozambique’s goods trail Mozambican importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$726.8 million (Up by 50.6% since 2017)
- Vehicles: -$494.8 million (Up by 59.3%)
- Cereals: -$453.4 million (Up by 25.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$335.6 million (Up by 0.4%)
- Inorganic chemicals: -$228.6 million (Up by 468.8%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$199.7 million (Down by -2.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$150.7 million (Up by 21.9%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$140.7 million (Up by 97.1%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$136.7 million (Down by -8.4%)
- Iron, steel: -$123.3 million (Up by 11.6%)
Mozambique has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery, notably heavy-duty industrial machines and computers.
Mozambican Export Companies
Not one corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia does list a handful of companies from Mozambique that engage as players in international trade. Selected examples are shown below:
- Beira Railroad Corporation (port-access railroads)
- Illovo Sugar Limited (raw and refined sugar)
- Mozal (aluminum smelter)
- Telecomunicações de Moçambique (telecommunications, internet services)
Mozambique’s capital city is Maputo.
See also Top African Export Countries, Top South African Trading Partners and Nigeria’s Top 10 Exports
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 12, 2019
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 3, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 12, 2019
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 12, 2019
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on July 3, 2019
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 3, 2019
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Mozambique. Accessed on March 12, 2019
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 3, 2019