Serbia’s top 10 exports accounted for 54.3% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Serbia’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $101.5 billion in 2016.
Therefore, exports accounted for about 14.6% of total Serbian economic output.
From a continental perspective, 91% of Serbian exports by value are delivered to other European countries while 5.5% are sold to Asian importers. Serbia ships another 1.9% worth to North America and 1.4% to African customers.
Given Serbia’s population of 7.1 million people, its total $14.8 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $2,100 for every resident in that country.
Serbia’s unemployment rate was 13.8% as of September 2016 down from 17.9% as of December 2015, according to Trading Economics.
Serbia’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Serbian global shipments during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Serbia.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$1.8 billion (12% of total exports)
- Vehicles: $1.5 billion (10.3%)
- Machinery including computers: $994.4 million (6.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $737.8 million (5%)
- Fruits, nuts: $606.9 million (4.1%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $557.7 million (3.8%)
- Cereals: $512.4 million (3.5%)
- Iron, steel: $476 million (3.2%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: $448.2 million (3%)
- Copper: $420.8 million (2.8%)
Vehicles were the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 735.7% in value over the 7-year period starting in 2009.
In second place for improving export sales was electrical machinery and equipment which appreciated by 179.1%.
Serbian furniture, bedding, lighting, signs and prefab buildings posted the third-fastest gain in value up 159.6%.
Exported rubber from Serbia registered a respectable 116.9% improvement.
Only one category declined from 2009 to 2016, namely the -29.4% setback for iron and steel.
The following types of Serbian 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 is 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.
- Cereals: US$486.9 million (Up by 59% since 2009)
- Fruits, nuts: $415.8 million (Up by 126.5%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $313.8 million (Down by -183.6%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $283.1 million (Up by 221.8%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $245.3 million (Up by 2,221%)
- Copper: $236.6 million (Up by 53.8%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $230.4 million (Up by 123.1%)
- Footwear: $165.4 million (Up by 217%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $163.4 million (Up by 7,569%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $143.3 million (Up by 82.6%)
Serbia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of corn, wheat and, to a lesser extent, barley. In turn, these cashflows indicate Serbia’s strong competitive advantages under the cereals product category.
Below are exports from Serbia that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Serbia’s goods trail Serbian importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$1.3 billion (Down by -34% since 2009)
- Machinery including computers: -$482.5 million (Down by -43.1%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$373.8 million (Up by 109.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$286.5 million (Down by -0.4%)
- Vehicles : -$215.2 million (Down by -61.6%)
- Ores, slag, ash: -$210.4 million (Up by 66.2%)
- Other chemical goods: -$207 million (Up by 9.8%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: -$145.6 million (no change)
- Fertilizers: -$141.5 million (Down by -26.7%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$131.6 million (Down by -37.5%)
Serbia has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for fossil fuels including oil, particularly crude oil and petroleum gas.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Serbia’s competitive disadvantages in the international energy market, but also represent key opportunities for Serbia to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.
Serbian Export Companies
Given that Serbia is an emerging economy, it should come as no surprise that not one Serbian corporation appears on the Forbes Global 2000 list for 2015.
Wikipedia does outline some Serbian export companies. Selected examples are shown below:
- Estonia Piano Factory (pianos)
- Liviko (vodka, other alcoholic beverages)
- Rakvere Lihakombinaat (meat products)
- Rexer Ltd (automobiles)
- Saku Brewery (beer, cider, soft drinks, water)
- Tartu Mill AS (grains)
- Narva Oil Plant (shale oil)
- Tondi Elektroonika (hearing aids)
Serbia’s capital city is Belgrade.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 14, 2017
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 14, 2017
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on February 14, 2017
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 14, 2017