Exports from Central America were worth US$48.6 billion in 2018, falling -4.9% since 2014 but up by 0.2% from 2017 to 2018.
In comparison, global exports from all countries worldwide equaled $19.347 trillion in 2018, rising 2.4% in value since 2014 and increasing by 10.2% year over year. To give further context, consider that Central American exported goods represent well under one percent (0.3%) of the global tally.
Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, the total Gross Domestic Product for all Central American countries amounted to $487.2 billion for 2018. Therefore, the $48.6 billion in exports represents about 10% of total Central American economic output.
Given Central America’s population of about 49.6 million people, the total $48.6 billion in Central American exports during 2018 translates to roughly $980 for every person living in Central America.
Top Central American Export Countries
Below are the top Central American export countries plus the corresponding dollar value in global shipments for 2018. Also shown is each country’s overall share of exports from all Central American nations.
- Panama: US$11.9 billion (24.5% of total Central American exports)
- Costa Rica: $11.3 billion (23.2%)
- Guatemala: $11 billion (22.7%)
- Nicaragua: $5 billion (10.3%)
- El Salvador: $4.6 billion (9.6%)
- Honduras: $4.5 billion (9.2%)
- Belize: $243.3 million (0.5%)
The most populated country in Central America is Guatemala home to 17.6 million people as of August 2019, compared to 4.2 million for Panamanian residents and 390,231 Belizean residents.
Two Central American exporters increased the value of their international shipments from 2014 to 2018 namely Guatemala (up 1.3%) and Nicaragua (up 0.8%).
There were four decliners: Belize (down -32.1%), Panama (down -13.6%), El Salvador (down -12.4%) then Honduras (down -1%).
See also Guatemala’s Top 10 Exports, Costa Rica’s Top 10 Exports, El Salvador’s Top 10 Exports and Panama’s Top 10 Exports
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 21, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 21, 2019
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports and Field Listing: Population, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on August 21, 2019
Worldometers, Central America Population. Accessed on August 21, 2019