Peru’s Top 10 Exports

Peru's Top 10 Exports

Peruvian mountain music

A country in western South America bordered to its east by Brazil, the Republic of Peru shipped US$44 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a 3.4% gain since 2013 and a 22.2% uptick from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Peru’s exported goods plus services represent 23.1% of total Peruvian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, 44.2% of Peruvian exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 20.3% went to European importers. Peru shipped another 19.4% to North American trailed by 14.4% worth delivered to other Latin American nations excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. At 0.7%, a much smaller percentage went to Africa.

Given Peru’s population of 31 million people, its total $44 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $1,400 for every resident in the South American country.

Peru’s unemployment rate was 7.3% as of April 2018 up from 6.6% in 2016, according to Trading Economics.

Peru’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Peruvian global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Peru.

At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Peru’s number 1 exported product is copper ores and concentrates followed by gold, refined petroleum oils, zinc then refined copper, meat flour and lead.

  1. Ores, slag, ash: US$16.5 billion (37.6% of total exports)
  2. Gems, precious metals: $7.4 billion (16.8%)
  3. Mineral fuels including oil: $3.5 billion (8%)
  4. Fruits, nuts: $2.4 billion (5.4%)
  5. Copper: $2.1 billion (4.9%)
  6. Food industry waste, animal fodder: $1.7 billion (3.9%)
  7. Coffee, tea, spices: $839.1 million (1.9%)
  8. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $826.1 million (1.9%)
  9. Zinc: $811.9 million (1.8%)
  10. Fish: $799 million (1.8%)

By value, Peru’s top 10 exports accounted for over four-fifths (84%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Mineral fuels-related products were the fastest-growing among Peru’s top 10 export categories, up 51.4% over the 5-year period starting in 2013. That increase was largely propelled by accelerating international sales of refined petroleum oils.

Second-fastest growing was the food industry waste and animal fodder category which rose 43.4%.

Peru’s exported zinc appreciated by 39.5% followed by Peruvian shipments of ores, slag and ash (up 35.2%) then copper (up 24.3%).

There was one declining top product category, namely coffee, tea and spices (mostly coffee) which fell in value by accessories fell in value by -4.4% from 2013 to 2017.


Overall Peru generated a $4.3 billion trade surplus in 2017, reversing a -$145.1 million surplus during 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.

  1. Ores, slag, ash: US$16.4 billion (Up by 35.1% since 2016)
  2. Gems, precious metals: $7.3 billion (Up by 8.4%)
  3. Fruits, nuts: $2.3 billion (Up by 19%)
  4. Copper: $2.1 billion (Up by 25.4%)
  5. Food industry waste, animal fodder: $1.1 billion (Up by 84.7%)
  6. Zinc: $801.3 million (Up by 38.7%)
  7. Coffee, tea, spices: $799.2 million (Down by -5.6%)
  8. Fish: $589 million (Up by 9.3%)
  9. Vegetables: $527.6 million (Down by -9.1%)
  10. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $525.9 million (Up by 2.3%)

Peru has highly positive net exports in the international trade of raw materials used in construction projects. 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.

  1. Machinery including computers: -US$4.8 billion (Down by -1.6% since 2016)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$4.2 billion (Up by 5.6%)
  3. Vehicles: -$3.7 billion (Up by 0.3%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: -$2.1 billion (Up by 20.9%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.4 billion (Up by 7%)
  6. Cereals: -$1.3 billion (Up by 17.5%)
  7. Iron, steel: -$1.2 billion (Up by 12.1%)
  8. Articles of iron or steel: -$807.2 million (Down by -10.3%)
  9. Other chemical goods: -$788.3 million (Up by 4.7%)
  10. Pharmaceuticals: -$725.9 million (Down by -0.6%)

Peru has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery especially computers and electronics.

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 which placed 975th in 2015.

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)

Peru’s capital city is Lima.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 26, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 26, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on May 26, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 26, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Peru. Accessed on May 26, 2018

Wikipedia, Peru. Accessed on May 26, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 26, 2018