A sovereign Oceanian nation comprised of six major islands and over 900 smaller islands northeast of Australia, Solomon Islands shipped an estimated US$569.1 million worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 24.1% increase since 2014 and a 13.9% uptick from 2017 to 2018.
From a continental perspective, 83.7% of Solomon Islands exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 13% were sold to importers in Europe. Solomon Islands shipped another 2.7% worth of goods to Oceania led by Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Smaller percentages went to North America (0.5%) and Africa (0.001%).
Given Solomon Islands’ population of 660,121 people, its total $569.1 million in 2018 exports translates to about $860 for every resident in these Oceanian islands.
In macroeconomic terms, Solomon Islands’ total exported goods represent 65.5% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($1.4 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 65.5% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 79.1% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Solomon Islands’ total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Solomon Islands also provided $157.9 million worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 11.2% of GDP in PPP. These metrics include a significant amount of re-exporting activity.
Another key indicator of economic performance is its unemployment rate. Solomon Islands’ unemployment rate was 2.05% in 2017, according to Trading Economics.
Solomon Islands’ Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Solomon Islander global shipments during 2018 at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Solomon Islands.
- Wood: US$426.7 million (75% of total exports)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $40.8 million (7.2%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $32.5 million (5.7%)
- Fish: $22.6 million (4%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $21.3 million (3.7%)
- Cocoa: $8.6 million (1.5%)
- Oil seeds: $6.9 million (1.2%)
- Gems, precious metals: $3.2 million (0.6%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $2.5 million (0.4%)
- Machinery including computers: $1.1 million (0.2%)
Solomon Islands’ top 10 exports accounted for 99.5% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Meat or seafood preparations were the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 811.1% since 2017.
In second place for improving export sales was cocoa which rose 95.7%.
Solomon Islands’ shipments of wood posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 20.8%.
The leading decliner among Solomon Islands’ top 10 export categories was fish via a -55.6% drop year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, rough wood represents Solomon Islands’ most valuable exported product at 71.6% of the country’s total. In second place was preserved and prepared fish and caviar (7.2%) trailed by palm oil (4%), aluminum ores and concentrates (3.7%), frozen whole fish (2.2%), and coconut, palm or babassu oils (1.7%).
The following types of Solomon Islander product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus in 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’ 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’ goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’ spending on foreign goods or services.
- Wood: US$423 million (Up by 21% since 2017)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $33.9 million (Reversing a -$1.2 million deficit)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $28.5 million (Down by -19%)
- Fish: $22 million (Down by -56.1%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $21.3 million (Up by 5.1%)
- Cocoa: $8 million (Up by 105.1%)
- Oil seeds: $6.7 million (Down by -52.1%)
- Gems, precious metals: $3.1 million (Down by -3.4%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $618,000 (Down by -25.3%)
- Miscellaneous animal-origin products: $348,000 (Up by 45%)
Solomon Islands has positive net exports notably in the international trade of timber-related products. In turn, these cashflows indicate Solomon Islands’ strong competitive advantages under the wood category.
Overall the Solomon Islands incurred a -$32.3 million product trade deficit for 2018, down by -55.2% from -$72.1 million in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Solomon Islands that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Solomon Islands’ goods trail Solomon Islander importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$101.5 million (Up by 26.9% since 2017)
- Machinery including computers: -$86.1 million (Up by 20.2%)
- Cereals: -$48.5 million (Up by 7.6%)
- Vehicles: -$45.6 million (Up by 27%)
- Ships, boats: -$41.6 million (Up by 883.9%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$31 million (Down by -62.8%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$25.4 million (Up by 29.2%)
- Meat: -$16.6 million (Up by 23%)
- Cereal/milk preparations: -$16 million (Up by 17.3%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$14.6 million (Up by 18.3%)
Solomon Islands has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil category, led by red ink for crude petroleum oil and petroleum gas.
Solomon Islander Export Companies
Not one Solomon Islander corporation ranks among the Forbes Global 2000 listing.
Wikipedia lists a couple of entities from Solomon Islands that participate in international trade. Two examples are shown below:
- Central Bank of Solomon Island (governing bank)
- Solomon Airlines (airliner)
Solomon Islands’ capital city is Honiara.
See also Australia’ Top 10 Exports, New Zealand’ Top 10 Exports and Top Oceanian Export Countries
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’ Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 27, 2018
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 17, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 17, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 27, 2018
The World Factbook, Australia-Oceania: Solomon Islands. Accessed on August 27, 2018
Wikipedia, Category:Companies of the Solomon Islands by industry. Accessed on August 27, 2018
Wikipedia, Flag of Solomon Islands. Accessed on August 27, 2018
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 17, 2019
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 17, 2019
Wikipedia, Solomon Islands. Accessed on August 27, 2018
World’ Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Honiara, Solomon Islands. Accessed on August 27, 2018