A country in western South America bordered to its east by Brazil, the Republic of Peru shipped US$45.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 34.1% increase since 2015 but a -4.4% drop from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Peruvian Sol depreciated by -5% against the US dollar since 2015 and declined by -1.8% from 2018 to 2019. Peru’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 78.9% of products exported from Peru were bought by importers in: China (29.2% of the global total), United States (12.3%), Canada (5.3%), Switzerland (5%), South Korea (4.9%), Japan (4.3%), India (4%), Brazil (3.2%), Netherlands (3.1%), Chile (2.8%), Spain (2.6%) and Germany (2.3%).
From a continental perspective, 47.2% of Peru’s exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 19.1% were sold to importers in Europe. Peru shipped another 18.7% worth of goods to North America and 13.8% to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Smaller percentages were sent to Africa (0.5%) and Oceania (0.3%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Peru’s population of 32.5 million people, its total $45.1 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $1,400 for every resident in the South American nation.
Peru’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Peruvian global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Peru.
- Ores, slag, ash: US$16.6 billion (36.7% of total exports)
- Gems, precious metals: $7.1 billion (15.8%)
- Fruits, nuts: $3.3 billion (7.3%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $3.1 billion (6.9%)
- Copper: $2 billion (4.5%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $1.7 billion (3.8%)
- Fish: $1.2 billion (2.6%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $888.4 million (2%)
- Zinc: $786.2 million (1.7%)
- Coffee, tea, spices: $757.9 million (1.7%)
By value, Peru’s top 10 exports accounted for over four-fifths (83.2%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Fish was the fastest grower among Peru’s top 10 export categories, up 25.7% from 2018 to 2019. The only other top category to increase was fruits and nuts which rose 10.5%.
Leading declining top product categories year over year were mineral fuels including oil (down -25.5%) and copper (down -11.9%).
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Peru’s number one export product was copper ores and concentrates (26.3% of total). In second place was gold (14.9%), refined petroleum oils (5.1%), zinc (3.6%), refined copper and unwrought alloys (3.5%) then inedible meat flour (3.3%).
Overall Peru generated a $2.8 billion trade surplus in 2019, down -32.1% from $4.1 billion in black ink for the prior year.
The following types of Peruvian 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.
- Ores, slag, ash: US$16.4 billion (Down by -6.4% since 2018)
- Gems, precious metals: $7.1 billion (Down by -2%)
- Fruits, nuts: $3.2 billion (Up by 11.1%)
- Copper: $2 billion (Down by -12.3%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $14 billion (Down by -3.7%)
- Fish: $13 billion (Up by 43.3%)
- Zinc: $780.6 million (Down by -6.6%)
- Coffee, tea, spices: $719.5 million (Down by -4.4%)
- Vegetables: $598.9 million (Up by 10.3%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $512.5 million (Down by -7.5%)
Peru has highly positive net exports in the international trade of raw materials such as copper, zinc and lead. In turn, these cashflows indicate Peru’s strong competitive advantages under the ores, slag and ash product category. Peru also posted a healthy surplus in the trade of gold.
Below are exports from Peru that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Peru’s goods trail Peruvian importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$5.3 billion (Up by 5.7% since 2018)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$4 billion (Down by -1.4%)
- Vehicles: -$3.8 billion (Up by 5.8%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$2.8 billion (Up by 4.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.6 billion (Down by -10.2%)
- Iron, steel: -$1.3 billion (Down by -15.6%)
- Cereals: -$1.3 billion (Up by 3%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$1 billion (Up by 16.9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$901.8 million (Up by 10.3%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$810.9 million (Up by 8.5%)
Peru has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery notably computers and heavy machinery including bulldozers and excavators.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Peru’s competitive disadvantages in the international market for machinery-related products, but also represent key opportunities for Peru to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.
Peruvian Export Companies
Peru had only one company on Forbes Global 2000 rankings, a regional bank named Credicorp.
Wikipedia lists the following the following Peruvian companies, which are involved in global trade.
- Coporación Aceros Arequipa (steel products)
- Ferreyros (industrial, construction machinery)
- Maple Energy (oil)
- Peru LNG (natural gas)
- Petroperú (petroleum)
- Backus and Johnston (brewery)
In macroeconomic terms, Peru’s total exported goods represent 9.4% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($478.3 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 9.4% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 10.3% for 2018. This seems to suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Peru’s total economic performance albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Peru’s average unemployment rate was 6.684% for 2019 down slightly from 6.7% one year earlier, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Peru’s capital city is Lima.
See also Peru’s Top Trading Partners and Top South American Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on March 16, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 16, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on March 16, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 16, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 16, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 16, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on March 16, 202016, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Peru. Accessed on March 16, 2020
Wikipedia, Peru. Accessed on March 16, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on March 16, 2020