Paraguay shipped US$7.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -8.1% dip since 2015 and a -15.4% decline from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Paraguayan guaraní has depreciated by -19.9% against the US dollar since 2015 and declined by -8.9% from 2019 to 2019. Paraguay’s weaker local currency make Paraguayan exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
From a continental perspective, 69.2% of Paraguayan by value in 2019 were delivered to Latin American countries (excluding Mexico) plus the Caribbean, while 15.7% were sold to importers in Europe. Paraguay shipped another 11.1% to Asia with much smaller percentages going to North America (2.4%), Africa (1.5%) and Oceania (0.1%) led by Australia.
Given Paraguay’s population of 7.2 million people, its total $7.7 billion in 2019 exports translates to under $1,100 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 2019 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$1.7 billion (22% of total exports)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $1.6 billion (20.5%)
- Meat: $1.1 billion (14.3%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $736.7 million (9.6%)
- Cereals: $710.5 million (9.3%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $438.2 million (5.7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $284.1 million (3.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $107.7 million (1.4%)
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $70.4 million (0.9%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $66.8 million (0.9%)
Paraguay’s top 10 exports accounted for 88.3% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Beverage, spirits and vinegar was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 157.9% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales were Paraguayan shipments of cereals, expanding by 35% and led by higher international sales of corn. Exported plastics including articles made from plastic posted the third-fastest gain in value up 1.5% year over year.
Leading the declining categories thanks to its -26.5% setback was the oil seeds category.
Soya beans are Paraguay’s most valuable product among its top 10 exports at the detailed 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Exported soya beans represent about a fifth (20.6%) of all Paraguayan shipments by value.
Close behind in second place was Paraguay’s exports of electrical energy at 20.5%. Other top Paraguayan exported products include soya-bean oil cake (9%), frozen beef (7.3%), fresh or chilled beef (6.1%), corn (5.2%), soya-bean oil (5.1%), insulated wire or cable (3.5%), rice (3%) and oil seeds (1.1%).
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$1.7 billion (Down by -26.8% since 2018)
- Meat: $1.1 billion (Down by -4.9%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $669.6 million (Down by -27.1%)
- Cereals: $663.2 million (Up by 38.5%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $402.6 million (Down by -15.3%)
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $52.3 million (Up by 4.1%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $40.3 million (Down by -41.5%)
- Wood: $39.2 million (Down by -22.4%)
- Miscellaneous animal-origin products: $20.7 million (Down by -54%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $20.3 million (Up by 444.5%)
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 -$4.5 billion trade deficit for 2019, a 5.6% increase from the -$4.3 billion in red ink during 2018.
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$2.4 billion (Up by 44.6% since 2018)
- Machinery including computers: -$1.3 billion (Down by -19.5%)
- Vehicles: -$1.1 billion (Down by -26.8%)
- Fertilizers: -$445.7 million (Down by -6.7%)
- Other chemical goods: -$425.6 million (Up by 4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$327.8 million (Down by -12.3%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: -$257.4 million (Down by -9.6%)
- Organic chemicals: -$235.7 million (Down by -11.9%)
- Iron, steel: -$235.4 million (Down by -28.2%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$219.2 million (Up by 10.5%)
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 7.9% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($97.2 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 7.9% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 9.6% for 2018, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Paraguay’s total economic performance.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Paraguay’s average unemployment rate was 6.068% for 2019 down from 5.557% one year earlier, according to the International Monetary Fund.
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 January 25, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on January 25, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on January 25, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on January 25, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on January 25, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on January 25, 2020
Wikipedia, Companies of Paraguay by industry. Accessed on January 25, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on January 25, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on January 25, 2020