Top Central American Export Countries

Street in Costa Rica

Street in Costa Rica

Exports from Central America were worth US$43 billion in 2017, a -16.8% reduction since 2013 and down by -6.6% from 2016 to 2017.

In comparison, global exports from all countries worldwide equaled $17.585 trillion in 2017, falling -6.9% in value since 2013 but appreciating by 10.7% after 2016. To give further perspective, consider that Central American exported goods represent well under one percent (0.2%) 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 $468.3 billion for 2017. Therefore, exports represent about 9.2% of Central American total economic output.

Given Central America’s population of about 48.9 million people, the total $43 billion in Central American exports during 2017 translates to roughly $880 for every person on the continent.

Top Central American Export Countries

Below are the top Central American export countries plus the corresponding dollar value in global shipments for 2017. Also shown is each country’s overall share of exports from all Central American nations.

  1. Guatemala: US$11 billion (25.6% of total Central American exports)
  2. Costa Rica: $10.6 billion (24.7%)
  3. El Salvador: $5.8 billion (13.4%)
  4. Panama: $5.5 billion (12.7%)
  5. Honduras: $5 billion (11.6%)
  6. Nicaragua: $4.9 billion (11.5%)
  7. Belize: $277.6 million (0.7%)

The most populated country in Central America is Guatemala home to 17.2 million people in 2018, compared to 382,444 Belizean residents.

The fastest-growing Central American exporters from 2013 to 2017 were Honduras (up 27.5%), Guatemala (up 9.4%) and Nicaragua (up 7.2%). El Salvador posted a modest 4.4% improvement in value over the 5-year period.

There were three decliners namely Panama (down -65.3%), Belize (down -32.9%) then Costa Rica (down -7.5%).

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

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 29, 2018

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports and Field Listing: Population, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on July 29, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, Trade statistics for international business development. Accessed on November 23, 2018

Worldometers, Central America Population. Accessed on July 29, 2018