A sovereign state in Eastern Europe, Ukraine exported an estimated US$46.1 billion worth of goods in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 21% increase since 2015 but a -2.5% decline from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Ukrainian hryvnia depreciated by -18.3% against the US dollar since 2015 but appreciated by 5% from 2018 to 2019. Ukraine’s stronger local currency since 2018 makes its exports paid for in weaker US more expensive for international buyers in 2019.
The latest available country-specific data based on 2018 data shows that 54.8% of products exported from Ukraine were bought by importers in: Russia (7.7% of the global total), Poland (6.9%), Italy (5.6%), Turkey (5.0%), Germany (4.7%), China (4.6%), India (also 4.6%), Hungary (3.5%), Netherlands (3.4%), Egypt (3.3%), Spain (2.9%) and Belarus (2.8%).
From a continental perspective also calculated using 2018 metrics, 55.8% of Ukraine’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 31.7% were sold to importers in Asia. Ukraine shipped another 8.7% worth of goods to Africa. Smaller percentages went to North America (2.8%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.6%) then Oceania led by Australia and Marshall Islands (0.1%).
Given Ukraine’s population of 41.9 million people, its total $46.1 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $1,100 for every resident in the Eastern European nation.
Ukraine’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Ukrainian global shipments during 2019, 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 Ukraine.
- Iron, steel: US$8 billion (17.4% of total exports)
- Cereals: $6.7 billion (14.5%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $4.7 billion (10.3%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $4.5 billion (9.7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $2.8 billion (6%)
- Oil seeds: $2.4 billion (5.1%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $1.6 billion (3.4%)
- Wood: $1.5 billion (3.2%)
- Machinery including computers: $1.4 billion (2.9%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $1.2 billion (2.6%)
Ukraine’s top 10 exports accounted for 75.2% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Ores, slag and ash was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 56% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was inorganic chemicals via a 35.4% gain. Ukraine’s shipments of food industry waste and animal fodder posted the third-fastest expansion in value up by 28.2%.
The severest decliner among Ukraine’s top 10 export categories was machinery including computers due to its -21.2% fall year over year.
The following types of Ukrainian 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 represent 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.
- Iron, steel: US$6.9 billion (Down by -19.6% since 2018)
- Cereals: $6.5 billion (Down by -7.5%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $4.3 billion (Up by 2.2%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $4.1 billion (Up by 62%)
- Oil seeds: $2 billion (Up by 29%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $1.33 billion (Up by 31.7%)
- Wood: $1.26 billion (Up by 5.4%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $744.5 million (Up by 67.4%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $311.6 million (Reversing a -$22.1 million deficit)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $262.9 million (Up by 74.7%)
Ukraine has highly positive net exports in the international trade of iron and steel. In turn, these cashflows indicate Ukraine’s strong competitive advantages under the iron and steel materials category.
Overall Ukraine incurred a -$4.8 billion trade deficit in 2019, down -50.9% from -$9.9 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Ukraine that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Ukraine’s goods trail Ukrainian importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: US-$5.2 billion (Up by 10.2% since 2018)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$5.2 billion (Down by -58.3%)
- Vehicles: -$4.6 billion (Up by 13.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$2.8 billion (Up by 11%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$2.1 billion (Up by 19.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.7 billion (Down by -17.2%)
- Other chemical goods: -$1.2 billion (Down by -4.6%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$857.4 million (Up by 11.5%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: -$776.5 million (Up by 32.3%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: -$617.8 million (Down by -20.1%)
Ukraine has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery notably for computers, nuclear reactors and harvesting or threshing machinery.
Ukrainian Export Companies
The following companies are selected examples of leading companies headquartered in Ukraine. Wikipedia lists the biggest exporters from Ukraine. Selected examples are shown below.
- Metinvest (mining, metals)
- Naftohaz of Ukraine (oil, gas)
- Aeromeh (aircraft)
- Azovstal iron and steel works (iron, steel)
- Bogdan group (automobile maker)
- Chumak (food processing)
- EKTA (LED displays, imaging equipment/software)
- Motor Sich (engines)
- Ukrainian Automobile Corporation (automobile maker)
- Ukrtatnafta (refined oil)
- Zaporizhstal (steel)
In macroeconomic terms, Ukraine’s total exported goods represent 11.3% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($409.8 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 11.3% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 12.1% for 2018. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Ukraine’s total economic performance.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Ukraine’s average unemployment rate was 8.531% for 2019 down from 9% one year earlier, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Ukraine’s capital city is Kiev.
See also Russia’s Top 10 Exports, Ukraine’s Top 10 Imports and Capital Facts for Kiev, Ukraine
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook report on Europe: Ukraine. Accessed on April 24, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 24, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on April 24, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 24, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 24, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 24, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on April 24, 2020
Wikipedia, List of the biggest companies of Ukraine. Accessed on April 24, 2020
Wikipedia, List of companies of Ukraine. Accessed on April 24, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on April 24, 2020
Wikipedia, Ukraine. Accessed on April 24, 2020