Located in the East Mediterranean Sea south of Syria, Turkey and Lebanon, exports from the third-largest and third-most populous Mediterranean island country the Republic of Cyprus totaled US$3.5 billion in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 2.8% increase since 2015 but a -31.7% downtick from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, Cyprus uses the euro which appreciated by 0.9% against the US dollar since 2015 but declined by -5.5% from 2018 to 2019. The weaker EU currency in 2019 made Cypriot exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers compared to 2018.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 53.4% of products exported from Cyprus were bought by importers in: Netherlands (13.3% of the global total), Libya (10.1%), Greece (7.6%), United Kingdom (6.1%), Hong Kong (2.6%), Marshall Islands (2.3%), United States (2.2%), Norway (2.1%), Germany (2%), Israel (1.9%), Liberia (1.7%) and Singapore (1.6%).
From a continental perspective, 45.7% of Cyprus’ exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 16% were sold to importers in Asia. Cyprus shipped another 14.9% worth of goods to Africa. Smaller percentages went to North America (3.4%), Oceania led by Marshall Islands and Australia (3%) then Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (2.9%).
Given the Cypriot population of 876,000 people, its total $3.5 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $4,000 for every resident in the island country.
Top 10 Exports from Cyprus
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Cypriot global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Cyprus.
- Ships, boats: US$1.1 billion (32.5% of total exports)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $727.1 million (21%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $371.7 million (10.7%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: $256.5 million (7.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $161.1 million (4.7%)
- Machinery including computers: $100.9 million (2.9%)
- Vegetables: $56.6 million (1.6%)
- Organic chemicals: $51.4 million (1.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $50.3 million (1.5%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $44.9 million (1.3%)
The top 10 exports from Cyprus accounted for 85.1% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Dairy, eggs and honey was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 5.8% from 2018 to 2019. The only other product category to increase international sales from Cyprus were vegetables (up 4.5%) and pharmaceuticals (up 4.3%).
The leading decliner among Cyprus’ top 10 export categories was articles made from iron or steel thanks to a -71.9% drop year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, the most valuable exported products from Cyprus are cruise or cargo ships and barges (16.7% of total) trailed by warships including lifeboats (12.8%), refined petroleum oils (11.2%), medication mixes in dosage (10.6%), cheese and curd (7.3%), tugboats and pusher craft (2.6%), electrical resistors (1.9%), potatoes (1.6%), mobile phones (1.5%) then Fruit and vegetable juices (1.2%).
trailed by pleasure or sports vessels including yachts (15.8%), cruise or cargo ships and barges (12.7%), warships including lifeboats (5.5%), and mobile phones (3.7%).
The following types of Cypriot 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 reflect 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.
- Dairy, eggs, honey: US$158 million (Up by 12.7% since 2018)
- Pharmaceuticals: $60.8 million (Down by -20.5%)
- Vegetables: $12.8 million (Up by 8.5%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $9.6 million (Down by -46.4%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $3.7 million (Down by -10.2%)
- Woodpulp: $3.2 million (Down by -38.7%)
- Copper: $1.3 million (Down by -64.2%)
- Miscellaneous animal-origin products: $693,000 (Down by -58.2%)
- Lead: $50,000 (Down by -95.6%)
Cyprus has highly positive net exports in the international trade under the dairy, eggs and honey category. In turn, these cashflows indicate Cyprus’s strong competitive advantages under that agricultural products category.
Cyprus incurred an overall -$5.71 billion trade deficit during 2019, down -0.7% from the -$5.75 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Cyprus that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country goods trail Cypriot importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$1 billion (Down by -2% since 2018)
- Vehicles: -$709.8 million (Down by -2.1%)
- Machinery including computers: -$421.3 million (Up by 9.2%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$323.3 million (Up by 88.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$194.6 million (Up by 0.1%)
- Iron, steel: -$165.2 million (Up by 13.1%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$156.2 million (Up by 12.7%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$142.7 million (Down by -10.6%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$136.1 million (Up by 1.1%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$135.8 million (Up by 4.2%)
Cyprus has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits, notably for refined petroleum oils and high temperature coal tar products under the mineral fuels including oil category.
Cypriot Export Companies
Not one Cypriot corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists exporters from Cyprus. Selected examples are shown below.
- ASBIS (computer hardware/software, mobile gadgets)
- Cyprus Wine Coverage-KEO (alcoholic beverages, juices, bottle water)
- Francoudi & Stephanou (trading conglomerate, shipping, alcohol)
- Leon Beer (brewery)
- Petrolina (oil, gas)
In macroeconomic terms, Cyprus’ total exported goods represent 9.5% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($36.3 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 9.5% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 14.3% for 2018. This suggests a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Cyprus’ total economic performance albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Cyprus’ average unemployment rate was 7.009% for 2019 down from 8.35% one year earlier, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Nicosia is the capital city of Cyprus.
See also Cyprus Top Trading Partners, Top EU Export Countries and Top EU Import Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Europe: Cyprus. Accessed on March 28, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 28, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on March 28, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 28, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 28, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 28, 2020
Wikipedia, Cyprus. Accessed on March 28, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on March 28, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Cyprus. Accessed on March 28, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on March 28, 2020