Top South American Export Countries

Unloading Brazilian cargo plane

Unloading Brazilian cargo

Exports from South America totaled US$440.8 billion in 2016, down in value by a third (-33%) from 2012 when shipments were valued at $657.9 billion. Year over year, South American export products depreciated by -52% from 2015 to 2016.

To give some perspective on their importance from a global economic perspective, South American exports represent an estimated 2.8% of total world exports.

Calculated using statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, the aggregate Gross Domestic Product for all South American countries amounted to roughly $6.394 trillion for 2016. Therefore, exports account for approximately 6.9% of South America’s total economic output.

Given South America’s population of some 414.8 million people, the $440.8 billion in South American exports for 2016 translates to roughly $1,063 for every person on the continent down from a per capita $1,121 during 2015.

Top South American Export Countries

Below are the South American export countries sorted in order by those attained the highest dollar value in global shipments during 2016. Also shown is each country’s overall share of South American exports.

RankExporter2016 Exports% Continent TotalSince 2012
1.Brazil$185.2 billion42%-23.6%
2.Chile$59.9 billion13.6%-23.2%
3.Argentina$57.7 billion13.1%-27.8%
4.Peru$36 billion8.2%-22.3%
5.Colombia$31 billion7%-48.6%
6.Venezuela$29.1 billion6.6%-69.4%
7.Ecuador$16.8 billion3.8%-29.6%
8.Paraguay$8.5 billion1.9%+16.6%
9.Bolivia$7.1 billion1.6%-40.1%
10.Uruguay$7 billion1.6%-20%
11.Guyana$1.2 billion0.3%-17.3%
12.Suriname$1 billion0.2%-57.5%
13.Falkland Islands (Malvinas)$232.2 million0.1%+10.1%

Collectively, the top 5 export countries account for over four-fifths (83.9%) of the overall value for all goods shipped from South America in 2016.

Brazil generates nearly half (42%) of all South American exports. Brazil’s top exports include soya beans, iron ores, sugar, crude oil and poultry.

Only two South American countries grew the value of their international trade shipments from 2012 to 2016: Paraguay (up 16.6%) and Falkland Islands/Malvinas (up 10.1%).

Venezuela led the decliners with a -58.4% drop, followed by Venezuela (down -69.4%), Suriname (down -57.5%), Colombia (down -48.6%) and Bolivia (down -40.1%).

See also Argentina’s Top 10 Exports, Highest Value Brazilian Export Products and Chile’s Top Trading Partners

Research Sources:
Central Intelligence Agency, Population statistics by country. Accessed on June 17, 2017

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 17, 2017

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports and World Population, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on June 17, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, Accessed on June 17, 2017

Wikipedia, List of South American countries by population