Located along Africa’s southeastern coast, the Republic of Mozambique shipped US$4.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 47.8% increase since 2015 but a -8.5% decline from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Mozambican metical depreciated by -56.4% against the US dollar since 2015 and declined by -3.7% from 2018 to 2019. Mozambique’s weaker local currency makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
The latest available country-specific data shows that about four-fifths (79.4%) of products exported from Mozambique were bought by importers in: South Africa (18.9% of the global total), India (17%), China (6.9%), Italy (6.4%), Netherlands (5.2%), United Kingdom (4.7%), Belgium (4.2%), Spain (3.6%), Singapore (also 3.6%), Hong Kong (3.4%), South Korea (2.9%) and Poland (2.7%).
From a continental perspective, 41.3% of Mozambique exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 31.6% were sold to importers in Europe. Mozambique shipped another 23.7% worth of goods to fellow African nations. Smaller percentages went to North American (2.1%), Latin America (1.3%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean then Oceania (0.04%) led by Australia.
Given Mozambique’s population of 32.2 million people, its total $4.7 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $150 for every resident in the southeast African nation.
Mozambique’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in Mozambican global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Mozambique.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$2 billion (42.4% of total exports)
- Aluminum: $1.1 billion (22.5%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $272.7 million (5.8%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $230.5 million (4.9%)
- Gems, precious metals: $185.6 million (3.9%)
- Fruits, nuts: $138.7 million (2.9%)
- Oil seeds: $99.8 million (2.1%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $91.4 million (1.9%)
- Vegetables: $87.5 million (1.9%)
- Wood: $84.1 million (1.8%)
Mozambique’s top 10 exports are concentrated, representing 90.1% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Vegetables represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 383.5% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales were oil seeds via a 322.5% gain. Mozambique’s shipments of wood posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 166.7%.
The leading decliner among Mozambique’s top 10 export categories was sugar including sugar confectionery thanks to a -52.3% drop year over year.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Mozambique’s most valuable exported goods are coal including solid fuels made from coal (21.5% of the total), raw aluminum (19.9%), electrical energy (9.2%), petroleum gases (5.7%), unmanufactured tobacco including waste (4.9%), coke and semi-coke (4.5%), titanium ores and concentrates (4.2%), unstrung precious or semi-precious stones (3.8%), aluminum wire (2.2%) then cashews, Brazil nuts and coconuts (1.9%).
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.
- Aluminum: US$968.4 million (Up by 18.1% since 2018)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $431.7 million (Down by -54%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $253.2 million (Up by 5.2%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $215.6 million (Up by 6.7%)
- Gems, precious metals: $185.4 million (Down by -6.9%)
- Fruits, nuts: $131.1 million (Up by 121.6%)
- Oil seeds: $88.3 million (Up by 422%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $76.4 million (Down by -58.2%)
- Vegetables: $41.1 million (Reversing a -$28.6 million deficit>
- Wood: $39.4 million (Reversing a -$3.9 million deficit)
Mozambique has highly positive net exports in the international trade of aluminum. In turn, these cashflows indicate Mozambique’s strong competitive advantages under the aluminum product category.
Mozambique incurred an overall trade deficit of -$2.9 billion during 2019, up by 75.9% from -$1.7 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$958.6 million (Up by 31.9% since 2018)
- Vehicles: -$584.4 million (Up by 18.1%)
- Cereals: -$482.5 million (Up by 6.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$449.6 million (Up by 34%)
- Inorganic chemicals: -$332.8 million (Up by 45.6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$211 million (Up by 5.6%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$210.5 million (Up by 54.1%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$202.8 million (Up by 44.1%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$198.4 million (Up by 31.6%)
- Iron, steel: -$166.8 million (Up by 35.3%)
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)
In macroeconomic terms, Mozambique’s total exported goods represent 11.6% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($40.6 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 11.6% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 13.2% one year earlier. This seems to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Mozambique’s total economic performance, albeit based on a very short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Mozambique’s unemployment rate was an estimated 25.1% in 2019 down slightly from 25.04% two years earlier, according to Trading Economics.
Mozambique’s capital city is Maputo.
See also Top African Export Countries, Top South African Trading Partners and Nigeria’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, Country Profiles, The World Factbook. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 2, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on March 2, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 2, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Mozambique. Accessed on March 2, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 3, 2019