Soya beans are Paraguay’s most valuable product among Paraguay’s top 10 exports at the detailed 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Exported soya beans represent about a quarter (24.4%) of all Paraguayan shipments by value.
Close behind in second place was Paraguay’s exports of electrical energy at 23.3%. Other top Paraguayan exported products include soya-bean oil cake (10.4%), frozen beef (7.2%), soya-bean oil (5.2%), fresh or chilled beef (5%), insulated wire or cable (2.9%), corn (2.5%), rice (2.4%) then wheat (0.9%).
Paraguay shipped US$9 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a -6.1% dip since 2014 but a 4.2% gain from 2017 to 2018.
During the first 9 months of 2019, Paraguay exported $6 billion worth of goods dropping -15.2% compared to the same period one year earlier.
From a continental perspective, 68.5% of Paraguayan by value in 2018 were delivered to Latin American countries (excluding Mexico) plus the Caribbean, while 17.3% were sold to European importers. Paraguay shipped another 11% to Asia with much smaller percentages going to North America (1.7%) and Africa (1.4%).
Given Paraguay’s population of 7 million people, its total $9 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $1,300 for every resident in the South American nation.
Paraguay’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in Paraguayan global shipments during 2018 at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Paraguay.
- Oil seeds: US$2.3 billion (25.3% of total exports)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $2.1 billion (23.3%)
- Meat: $1.2 billion (13%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $992.6 million (11%)
- Cereals: $526.3 million (5.8%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $511.2 million (5.7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $280.3 million (3.1%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $106.1 million (1.2%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $76.9 million (0.9%)
- Miscellaneous animal-origin products: $72.8 million (0.8%)
Paraguay’s top 10 exports accounted for 90.1% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Food industry waste and animal fodder was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 15.9% from 2017 to 2018. In second place for improving export sales were Paraguayan shipments of electrical machinery and equipment, improving in value by 15.9%. Exported plastics including articles made from plastic posted the third-fastest gain in value up 8.5% year over year.
Leading the declining categories thanks to its -33.2% setback was raw hides excluding furskins but including leather.
The following types of Paraguayan 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$2.3 billion (Up by 4.2% since 2017)
- Meat: $1.1 billion (Down by -5.4%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $918.8 million (Up by 31.6%)
- Cereals: $478.9 million (Up by 6.2%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $475.6 million (Down by -2.5%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $271.2 million (Down by -64.7%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $68.9 million (Down by -35.8%)
- Wood: $50.6 million (Up by 3.7%)
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $50.3 million (Up by 17%)
- Miscellaneous animal-origin products: $45 million (Down by -5.6%)
Paraguay has highly positive net exports in the international trade of oil seeds which is used for making edible oils and producing biodiesel. It also serves as high protein animal feed. Positive cashflows indicate Paraguay’s strong competitive advantages under the oil seed product category.
Overall Paraguay incurred a -$4.3 billion trade deficit for 2018, a 34.3% expansion from the -$3.2 billion in red ink during 2017.
Below are exports from Paraguay that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Paraguay’s goods trail Paraguayan importer spending on foreign products.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US-$1.7 billion (Down by -1.3% since 2017)
- Machinery including computers: -$1.6 billion (Up by 6.5%)
- Vehicles: -$1.5 billion (Up by 23.3%)
- Fertilizers: -$477.9 million (Up by 10.3%)
- Other chemical goods: -$409.1 million (Up by 13%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$373.8 million (Up by 14.5%)
- Iron, steel: -$327.8 million (Up by 39.7%)
- Toys, games: -$304.3 million (Down by -5.6%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: -$284.7 million (Up by 5.5%)
- Organic chemicals: -$267.6 million (Up by 28.7%)
Paraguay has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for electronics-related goods including consumer electronics.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Paraguay’s competitive disadvantages in the international electronics market, but also represent key opportunities for Paraguay to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.
Paraguayan Export Companies
According to Wikipedia, the following companies are examples of leading Paraguayan companies:
- Banco Amambay (bank)
- Funcionale (electronics company)
- Itaú Unibanco (bank)
- Petróleos Paraguayos (oil and gas company)
- TAM Airlines (airliner)
In macroeconomic terms, Paraguay’s total exported goods represent 9.6% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($94.5 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 9.6% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 11.9% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Paraguay’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Paraguay also provided $1.2 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 1.2% of GDP in PPP.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Paraguay’s unemployment rate was 6.9% at March 2019 down from 7.4% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.
Paraguay’s capital city is Asunción, of which the metropolitan area is home to nearly a third of the country’s population.
See also Brazil’s Top 10 Imports, Brazil’s Top Trading Partners and Top South American Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on November 5, 2019
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on November 5, 2019
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on November 5, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on November 5, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on November 5, 2019
Wikipedia, Companies of Paraguay by industry. Accessed on November 5, 2019
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on November 5, 2019
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on November 5, 2019