Nepal’s Top 10 Imports

Nepali flag (courtesy of FlagPictures.org)

Nepali flag (FlagPictures.org)

A landlocked nation in South Asia surrounded by China, India, Bangladesh and Bhutan, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal imported a total US$10.2 billion worth of goods in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 34.6% increase since 2014 and a 1.8% gain from 2017 to 2018.

Top suppliers accounting for 84.5% of Nepal’s international purchases were: India (65%), China (12.6%), United Arab Emirates (1.7%), France (1.5%), Argentina (1.3%), Indonesia (1.2%) then Thailand (1.1%).

From a continental perspective and based on 2017 data, 88.2% of Nepal’s total imports by value were purchased from fellow Asian countries. Smaller percentages came from Europe (4.6%), Latin America (1.9%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, North America (1.7%) then Africa (1%).

Given Nepal’s population of 29.7 million people, its total $10.2 billion in 2018 imports translates to roughly $345 in yearly product demand from every person in the Himalayan country.

Nepal’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Nepal’s import purchases during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Nepal.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$1.7 billion (17.1% of total imports)
  2. Iron, steel: $1.2 billion (12%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $928 million (9.1%)
  4. Vehicles: $777.1 million (7.6%)
  5. Electrical machinery, equipment: $606.5 million (5.9%)
  6. Gems, precious metals: $494.2 million (4.8%)
  7. Cereals: $391.6 million (3.8%)
  8. Aircraft, spacecraft: $323.4 million (3.2%)
  9. Pharmaceuticals: $271.3 million (2.7%)
  10. Plastics, plastic articles: $266.6 million (2.6%)

Nepal’s top 10 imports accounted for over two-thirds (68.8%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Imported aircraft and spacecraft posted the fastest-growing increase in value among Nepal’s top 10 import categories, up 50.3% from 2017 to 2018.

In second place for improving import purchases were gems and precious metals, up 33.7%. Close behind were Nepali imports of iron and steel delivering the third-fastest gain up 28.9%.

Plastics and articles made from plastics represent the laggard among the top 10 Nepali imports via that category’s -27.4% decline.

At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Nepal’s costliest imported products are processed petroleum oils (13.2% of the overall total) followed by semi-finished iron or non-alloy steel products (5.7%), aircraft and spacecraft (2.8%), gold (2.7%), rice (2.6%), petroleum gases (also 2.6%), hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (2.5%), mobile phones (2.4%) then medication mixes in dosage (2.2%).

Please note the information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.

Fuel

In 2018, Nepali importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related goods.

  1. Processed petroleum oils: US$1.4 billion (up 23% from 2017)
  2. Petroleum gases: $265.6 million (up 14.5%)
  3. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $47.4 million (down -67.2%)
  4. Electrical energy: $39 million (no 2014 data)
  5. Petroleum oil residues: $33.4 million (up 6.1%)
  6. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $1.6 million (up 102.7%)
  7. Coke, semi-coke: $1.4 million (down -93.5%)
  8. Tar pitch, coke: $1.2 million (up 11,246%)
  9. Natural bitumen, asphalt, shale: $804,000 (up 245.1%)
  10. Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $277,000 (up 66.9%)

Among these import subcategories, Nepal’s purchases of tar pitch and coke (up 11,246%), natural bitumen, asphalt and shale (up 245.1%) and petroleum jelly or mineral waxes (up 102.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported mineral-fuels related goods among Nepali businesses and consumers.

Iron

In 2018, Nepali importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of iron and steel.

  1. Iron or non-alloy steel products (semi-finished): US$582.2 million (up 23.2% from 2017)
  2. Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products: $256 million (up 33.2%)
  3. Coiled iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods: $136.4 million (up 37.9%)
  4. Cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products: $107.5 million (up 69.8%)
  5. Iron or non-alloy steel angles, shapes, sections: $52.7 million (up 24.8%)
  6. Iron ore reduced products: $34.1 million (up 13.4%)
  7. Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (thin plated/coated): $15.2 million (up 380.7%)
  8. Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated): $11.4 million (up 23.6%)
  9. Iron or non-alloy steel wire: $6.7 million (down -6.2%)
  10. Flat-rolled stainless steel items (thin): $5.3 million (down -67.1%)

Among these import subcategories, Nepal’s purchases of cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (up 69.8%), coiled iron or non-alloy steel bars and rods (up 37.9%) then hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (up 33.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported iron and steel among Nepali businesses and consumers.

Machines

In 2018, Nepali importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.

  1. Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): US$221 million (down -6.9% from 2017)
  2. Sort/screen/washing machinery: $78.4 million (down -17.3%)
  3. Computers, optical readers: $70.4 million (up 2.8%)
  4. Refrigerators, freezers: $40.8 million (up 3.6%)
  5. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $29.8 million (up 65.2%)
  6. Air or vacuum pumps: $26.8 million (up 33.2%)
  7. Rubber/plastic article making machines: $26.3 million (up 67.8%)
  8. Metal-rolling mills: $26 million (up 103.3%)
  9. Liquid pumps and elevators: $25.4 million (up 5.5%)
  10. Miscellaneous machinery: $24.8 million (up 29.3%)

Among these import subcategories, Nepal’s purchases of metal-rolling mills (up 103.3%), rubber or plastic article making machines (up 67.8%) then taps, valves and similar appliances (up 65.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery including computers among Nepali businesses and consumers.

Vehicles

In 2018, Nepali importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.

  1. Motorcycles: US$193 million (down -4.3% from 2017)
  2. Cars: $166.3 million (up 25%)
  3. Trucks: $154.6 million (up 49.9%)
  4. Tractors: $93.6 million (up 3.1%)
  5. Automobile parts/accessories: $63.7 million (up 71.1%)
  6. Chassis fitted with engine: $31.9 million (down -56.6%)
  7. Public-transport vehicles: $26.2 million (down -8.2%)
  8. Motorcycle parts/accessories: $23.8 million (up 15.8%)
  9. Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $8.8 million (down -25.7%)
  10. Special purpose vehicles: $8.1 million (up 5.6%)

Among these import subcategories, Nepal’s purchases of automobile parts or accessories (up 71.1%), trucks (up 49.9%) and cars (up 25%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among Nepali businesses and consumers.



 

See also Nepal’s Top Trading Partners, Nepal’s Top 10 Exports and India’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on September 10, 2019

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on September 10, 2019

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 10, 2019

Wikipedia, Nepal. Accessed on September 10, 2019