Report Card for Trade Surpluses and Deficits by Country

Trade Surpluses and Deficits by Country Conceptual

Trade stats conceptual

According to latest International Trade Centre reports, 71 among the world’s 230 countries, islands, territories or other geographic entities posted an overall trade surplus for 2017. Those 71 trade partners listed below generated more sales revenue from exports than payments due for import purchases.

Thirty-five of the 71 trading entities generating a positive trade balance during 2017 increased their trade balances posted one year earlier in 2016. The fastest-increasing surpluses year over year belong to Australia (up 3,300%), Peru (up 2,557%), Vietnam (up 1,636%), Azerbaijan (up 813.6%), Oman (up 638%) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (up 395.9%).

Trade Surpluses by Country

RankTrade Partner2017 Surplus (US$)2016-7
1.China$419.6 billion-17.7%
2.Germany$276.6 billion-1.2%
3.Russia$130.9 billion+26.8%
4.South Korea$95.3 billion+6.6%
5.Saudi Arabia$93.3 billion+90.1%
6.Brazil$66.99 billion+40.5%
7.Taiwan$58.04 billion+17.2%
8.Netherlands$55.9 billion+20.1%
9.Iran$54.2 billion+34.1%
10.Italy$51.6 billion-9.3%
11.Ireland$49.2 billion-1.5%
12.Singapore$45.5 billion-1.4%
13.United Arab Emirates$38.8 billion+39.7%
14.Qatar$35.9 billion+42.1%
15.Switzerland$31.8 billion-10.5%
16.Vietnam$27.8 billion+1,636%
17.Japan$26.2 billion-0.31
18.Angola$24.8 billion+42.4%
19.Belgium$23.6 billion-6.9%
20.Malaysia$22.6 billion+7.3%
21.Venezuela$21.9 billion+57.9%
22.Kuwait$21.2 billion+37.6%
23.Iraq$19.01 billion+117.3%
24.Kazakhstan$19 billion+63.8%
25.Czech Republic$18 billion-9.1%
26.Norway$16.5 billion-2.2%
27.Nigeria$11.8 billion-610.8%
28.Indonesia$11.4 billion+29.3%
29.Thailand$10.9 billion-39.1%
30.Libya$10.2 billion-24.73
31.Denmark$9.4 billion+1.9%
32.Hungary$9.1 billion-17.5%
33.Oman$8.8 billion+638%
34.Australia$8.4 billion+3,300%
35.Papua New Guinea$6.4 billion+38.6%
36.South Africa$5.2 billion-927.1%
37.Azerbaijan$5.03 billion+813.6%
38.Equatorial Guinea$4.5 billion+28.1%
39.Peru$4.3 billion+2,557%
40.Chile$4.2 billion+111.4%
41.Trinidad/Tobago$3.9 billion+53.2%
42.Congo$3.6 billionno 2016 data
43.Turkmenistan$3.5 billion+47.6%
44.Poland$3.33 billion-58.1%
45.Democratic Rep. Congo$3.27 billion+395.9%
46.Gabon$3.1 billion+52.9%
47.Côte d'Ivoire$3 billion+34.3%
48.Brunei Darussalam$2.5 billion+22.4%
49.Mongolia$2.1 billion+32.2%
50.Guinea$1.8 billion-6,864%
51.Ghana$1.6 billion-332.6%
52.Slovakia$1.5 billion-35.7%
53.South Sudan$710.4 million-22.2%
54.Chad$626.6 million-38.8%
55.Botswana$613.9 million-49.6%
56.Slovenia$580.7 million-40%
57.Faroe Islands$542.2 million+5.7%
58.Greenland$248.5 million-452.4%
59.Suriname$232.2 million+280.3%
60.Niger$230.5 million-124.7%
61.Swaziland$192.7 million-29.1%
62.Falkland Is (Malvinas)$99 million-42%
63.Niue$50.6 million-413.2%
64.Kiribati$42.8 million-140.1%
65.Eritrea$34.9 million-18.9%
66.Guyana$28.1 million-116.3%
67.Tokelau$22.8 million+89.7%
68.Guinea-Bissau$12.4 millionno 2016 data
69.Montserrat$433,000-101.2%
70.British Antarctic Terr.$4,000-104.6%
71.Bouvet Island$3,000-83.3%


All told, the above 71 trade partners earned a collective trade surplus equal to US$1.891 trillion during 2017.

Notable achievements include Nigeria turning a -$2.3 billion deficit in 2016 into an $11.8 billion surplus one year later. South Africa transitioned from -$633.2 million in red ink to a $5.2 billion profit for 2017, while Libya went from a -$429.6 million deficit in 2016 to post a $10.2 billion trade surplus. Albeit on a much smaller scale, Guinea’s $1.8 billion surplus in 2017 compares to a -$26.5 million deficit in 2016.



Trade Deficits by Country

One hundred and fifty-nine trade partners posted deficits for 2017, dwarfing the 71 countries, islands, territories or other geographic that earned surpluses over the same time period.

Out of the 159 trade partners that recorded a deficit in 2017, 102 posted expanded negative balances compared to the amount of trade red ink for 2016. The fastest-increasing deficits year over year were attributed to North Korea (up 555.9%), Tuvalu (up 437.6%), Pitcairn (up 396.1%), Solomon Islands (up 335.4%), Panama (up 230.5%) and the Bahamas (up 206.3%).

RankTrade Partner2017 Deficit (US$)2016-7
1.United States-$862.2 billion+7.9%
2.United Kingdom-$199.3 billion-11.4%
3.India-$148.2 billion+53.8%
4.France-$89.7 billion+25.2%
5.Turkey-$76.7 billion+36.8%
6.Egypt-$40.4 billion+13.6%
7.Hong Kong-$39.6 billion+29.6%
8.Pakistan-$35.6 billion+34.4%
9.Philippines-$33.2 billion+12.1%
10.Panama-$32.2 billion+230.5%
11.Spain-$31.3 billion+50.8%
12.Greece-$23.1 billion+17%
13.Morocco-$19.5 billion+3.4%
14.Israel-$15.9 billion+203.9%
15.Portugal-$15.7 billion+31%
16.Marshall Islands-$15.6 billion-5.6%
17.Romania-$14.7 billion+33.3%
18.Lebanon-$14 billion-10.9%
19.Jordan-$12.9 billion+10.6%
20.Ethiopia-$11.8 billion-14.2%
21.Canada-$11.8 billion-15.3%
22.Kenya-$10.9 billion+30%
23.Mexico-$10.9 billion-17.1%
24.Algeria-$10.9 billion-36.5%
25.Dominican Republic-$10.7 billion+18%
26.Afghanistan-$9.7 billion+63.9%
27.Sri Lanka-$9.6 billion+6.9%
28.Macao-$9.5 billion+24%
29.Nepal-$9.3 billion+14.1%
30.Croatia-$8.8 billion+8.0%
31.Bangladesh-$8.6 billion+72.7%
32.Argentina-$8.5 billion-500.9%
33.Gibraltar-$8.4 billion+0.6%
34.Colombia-$8.3 billion-39.8%
35.Austria-$7.8 billion+38.4%
36.Bahamas-$7.7 billion+206.3%
37.Guatemala-$7.4 billion+15.5%
38.Luxembourg-$7.1 billion+13.2%
39.Tunisia-$6.4 billion+8.6%
40.Sudan-$6.04 billionno 2016 data
41.Ukraine-$6.01 billion+108.1%
42.Cyprus-$5.9 billion+26.5%
43.Myanmar (Burma)-$5.4 billion+33.6%
44.Syrian Arab Republic-$5.3 billion+33.1%
45.Costa Rica-$5.3 billion-1.7%
46.Georgia-$5.3 billion+2.5%
47.Serbia-$5.2 billion+18.5%
48.Belarus-$5 billion+21.9%
49.Yemen-$4.9 billion-16.6%
50.El Salvador-$4.8 billion+9.6%
51.Djibouti-$4.6 billion+3.8%
52.Cuba-$4.5 billion-14.7%
53.Jamaica-$4.5 billion+26.5%
54.Bosnia/Herzegovina-$4.1 billion+6.9%
55.Bulgaria-$4 billion+42.3%
56.Cameroon-$3.8 billion+38.8%
57.Senegal-$3.7 billion+31.8%
58.Honduras-$3.6 billion-5.0%
59.Tanzania-$3.6 billion+14.5%
60.Albania-$3.5 billion+27.6%
61.Uzbekistan-$3.3 billion+53.3%
62.Malta-$3.3 billion+1.7%
63.Cayman Islands-$3.3 billion+37.1%
64.Paraguay-$3.2 billion+155.3%
65.Mauritius-$3.2 billion+28.7%
66.Latvia-$3 billion+40.9%
67.Somalia-$2.9 billion+39.9%
68.Finland-$2.8 billion-11.2%
69.Nicaragua-$2.8 billion-3.7%
70.Uganda-$2.7 billion+14.8%
71.Kyrgyzstan-$2.7 billion+11.1%
72.Moldova-$2.4 billion+21.8%
73.Benin-$2.3 billion+5.2%
74.Tajikistan-$2.3 billion+9.3%
75.Mali-$2.2 billion+120.7%
76.Montenegro-$2.2 billion+14.7%
77.Maldives-$2.2 billion+8.6%
78.Iceland-$2.1 billion+66.6%
79.New Zealand-$2.1 billion-11.3%
80.Macedonia-$2.05 billion+3.9%
81.Haiti-$1.97 billion-29.7%
82.Estonia-$1.97 billion+15.4%
83.Bahrain-$1.9 billion+4.8%
84.Armenia-$1.7 billion+23.9%
85.Malawi-$1.7 billion+40.7%
86.Lithuania-$1.6 billion-30%
87.Namibia-$1.5 billion-18.7%
88.North Korea-$1.5 billion+555.9%
89.Mauritania-$1.5 billion+163%
90.Fiji-$1.5 billion+5.3%
91.Bolivia-$1.5 billion+7.8%
92.Lesotho-$1.4 billionno 2016 data
93.Andorra-$1.3 billion+5.2%
94.US Minor Outlying Is-$1.3 billion+50.1%
95.French Polynesia-$1.2 billion+11.1%
96.Laos-$1.2 billion+22.4%
97.Zimbabwe-$1.1 billion-52.9%
98.Barbados-$1.1 billion+0.9%
99.Aruba-$1.1 billion+7.8%
100.Liberia-$1.1 billionno 2013 data
101.Mozambique-$1.1 billion-44.6%
102.Bermuda-$1.1 billion+10.7%
103.Sierra Leone-$971 million+97.2%
104.Cambodia-$935.7 million-59.3%
105.Burkina Faso-$914.1 million+10.5%
106.Palestine-$897.2 million-79.8%
107.Togo-$865.7 million-13.5%
108.Madagascar-$807.5 million+13.9%
109.Sweden-$750.7 million-54.4%
110.Cabo Verde-$743.7 million+21.6%
111.Ecuador-$722.5 million-218.6%
112.Rwanda-$698.3 million-39.6%
113.Belize-$635.5 million-10%
114.British Virgin Islands-$604.3 million-26.3%
115.Zambia-$584.3 million-36%
116.Burundi-$583.4 million+16.2%
117.Uruguay-$568.5 million-51.5%
118.Antigua/Barbuda-$567.4 million+32.1%
119.Curaçao-$543.6 million+49.7%
120.Gambia-$531.4 million+82.5%
121.Saint Lucia-$522 million-5.1%
122.New Caledonia-$519.7 million-27%
123.Timor-Leste-$433.7 million-17.7%
124.Turks/Caicos Islands-$394.3 million+28.7%
125.Bhutan-$316 million-0.7%
126.Samoa-$311.8 million+6.1%
127.Dominica-$298.1 million+114.1%
128.St Vincent/Grenadines-$287.7 million-1.4%
129.Comoros-$285.3 million-21.4%
130.Saint Kitts/Nevis-$275.7 million-7.1%
131.Seychelles-$240.7 million-79.3%
132.Central African Republic-$224 million-28.4%
133.Bonaire/St Eustatius/Saba-$220.6 million-39.9%
134.Grenada-$201.6 million+19.1%
135.Palau-$151.4 million+3%
136.Northern Mariana Islands-$148.5 million+15.6%
137.Sao Tome/Principe-$136.5 million+5.9%
138.Tonga-$119.9 million-35.6%
139.Micronesia-$112.9 million-3.5%
140.Vanuatu-$106.8 million+52.1%
141.Cook Islands-$105.7 million-6.9%
142.Anguilla-$81.2 million+59.9%
143.Western Sahara-$78.6 million-1,267%
144.Tuvalu-$78.4 million+437.6%
145.Solomon Islands-$72.1 million+335.4%
146.St Maarten (Dutch)-$71 million-38.4%
147.St. Pierre/Miquelon-$52.8 million-7.1%
148.British Indian Ocean Terr-$50.7 million+100.7%
149.Norfolk Island-$48.4 million+30.2%
150.French S./Antarctic Terr.-$41.3 million-5.3%
151.Wallis/Futuna Islands-$36.5 million+13.3%
152.Nauru-$21 million-37.8%
153.Saint Helena-$17.6 million-15.1%
154.American Samoa-$14.8 million-10.2%
155.Christmas Island-$11.3 million+13.9%
156.Cocos (Keeling) Islands-$5.7 million-4.6%
157.Guam-$3 million-4,697%
158.Pitcairn-$2.8 million+396.1%
159.Serbia/Montenegro-$13,000no 2016 data


Ecuador incurred a -$722.5 million trade deficit in 2017 compared to a $609 million surplus in 2016. Argentina also saw a $2.1 billion surplus in 2016 swing to a -$8.5 billion deficit one year later. Similarly, Western Sahara went from $6.7 million in black ink to -$78.6 million in red ink while Guam slipped from a tiny $65,000 surplus to a -$3 million shortfall in its international trade during 2017.

Research Sources:
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 28, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on September 28, 2018

Wikipedia, Balance of trade. Accessed on September 28, 2018