An archipelago consisting of 115 islands located in the Indian Ocean off Africa’s eastern coast, the Republic of Seychelles shipped US$864.3 million worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 56.8% increase from 2017 to 2018 and a 45.4% gain since 2014.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 89.4% of products exported from Seychelles were bought by importers in: United Arab Emirates (23.9% of the global total), United Kingdom (18.8%), France (15.4%), Cayman Islands (9.8%), Marshall Islands (6.2%), Italy (5.3%), Australia (2.9%), Spain (2.5%), Thailand (2.3%) and Mauritius (2.2%).
From a continental perspective, 46% of Seychelles’ exports by value were delivered to European countries while 30% were sold to Asian importers. Seychelles shipped another 9.9% worth of goods to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Smaller percentages went to Oceania (9.2%) led by Australia, Africa (3.8%) then North America (0.5%).
Given Seychelles’ population of 94,633 people, its total $864.3 million in 2018 exports translates to roughly $9,100 for every resident in the African archipelago.
In macroeconomic terms, Seychelles’ total exported goods represent 22.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($2.9 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 22.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 28.2% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Seychelles’ total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Seychelles also provided $1 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 34.8% of GDP in PPP. These metrics include a significant amount of re-exporting activity.
Another key indicator of economic performance is the unemployment rate. Seychelles’ unemployment rate was forecast to be 1.7% at June 2019 down from 4.1% in 2016, according to Trading Economics.
Seychelles Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in global shipments from Seychelles during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Seychelles.
- Meat/seafood preparations: US$279.1 million (32.3% of total exports)
- Ships, boats: $221.5 million (25.6%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $164.6 million (19%)
- Fish: $85.2 million (9.9%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $50 million (5.8%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $19.9 million (2.3%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $18 million (2.1%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $10 million (1.2%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $2.2 million (0.2%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $2.1 million (0.2%)
Seychelles’ top 10 export categories accounted for 98.6% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 668.5% since 2017.
In second place for improving export sales was ships and boats via a 534.9% increase.
Seychelles’ shipments of tobacco including manufactured substitutes posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 105.3%.
The leading decliner among Seychelles ‘s top 10 export categories was the optical, technical, medical apparatus category which fell -41.8% year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, caviar represents Seychelles’ most valuable exported product at 32.3% of the overall total. In second place were yachts and other pleasure or sports vessels (25.6%) trailed by processed petroleum oils (19%), whole frozen fish (9.2%), aircraft and spacecraft (5.6%), fish or marine mammal fats and oils (2.3%), inedible meat flour (2.1%) then cigars and cigarettes (1.2%).
The following types of product shipments from Seychelles 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.
- Meat/seafood preparations: US$272.8 million (Up by 8.4% since 2017)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $14 million (Up by 28.4%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $1.9 million (Reversing a -$18.5 million deficit)
- Live animals: $1.0 million (Up by 84%)
- Other base metals: $156,000 (Up by 403.2%)
Seychelles has highly positive net exports in the international trade of meat or seafood preparations. In turn, these cashflows indicate Seychelles’ strong competitive advantages under that food product category.
Overall Seychelles incurred a -$1 billion product trade deficit for 2018, up 35.4% from -$760.8 million in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Seychelles that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Seychelles’ goods trail its importer spending on foreign products.
- Ships, boats: -US$302.5 million (Up by 221.1% since 2017)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$138.3 million (Up by 123.7%)
- Machinery including computers: -$84.3 million (Down by -40.7%)
- Fish: -$81.3 million (Down by -33.6%)
- Vehicles: -$67.7 million (Up by 35.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$63.1 million (Up by 27.3%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$43.4 million (Up by 87.2%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$33.7 million (Up by 9.5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$29.1 million (Up by 54.7%)
- Paper, paper items: -$25.4 million (Up by 19.3%)
Seychelles has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the capital-intensive ships and boats product category.
International Trade Players in Seychelles
According to Alibaba.com listings, the following companies are examples of companies exporting products from Seychelles.
- Crosby Ltd (metal/plastic scrap, chemical waste, recycled tires)
- East-West Trading & Consulting (alcoholic beverages, dairy, machinery)
- Globarom (cinnamon bark, oils, spices, lemongrass)
- Insite Traders PTY Ltd (wood flooring, shingles, logs)
- NDE Nelson (wood pellets, briquettes)
- Seaweed Seychelles Pty Ltd (seaweed growth/soil conditioning)
- Shakhnar Holding (diamonds, emeralds)
- TChem Limited (sulfur products)
Wikipedia also lists entities from Seychelles that engage in international trade transactions, either directly or by providing financial services. Selected examples are shown below:
- Air Seychelles (commercial airliner)
- Central Bank of Seychelles (government central bank)
- Seychelles Trading Company Ltd (government importer/wholesaler)
Seychelles’ capital city is Victoria.
See also Top African Export Countries, South Africa’s Top 10 Exports and Ghana’s Top 10 Exports
Alibaba, Seychelles Showroom. Accessed on October 23, 2018
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 23, 2018
Foreign Trade, United States Census Bureau. Accessed on October 23, 2018
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 21, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 21, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on October 23, 2018
The World Factbook, Africa: Seychelles. Accessed on October 23, 2018
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 21, 2019
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Seychelles. Accessed on October 23, 2018
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 21, 2019
Wikipedia, Seychelles. Accessed on October 23, 2018