A landlocked Central Asian country that shares its southern border with Afghanistan, the Republic of Uzbekistan shipped an estimated US$8.4 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 17.1% upturn since 2014 but a -3.2% dip from 2017 to 2018.
The latest data shows that 95.9% of products exported from Uzbekistan were bought by importers in: Switzerland (29.4% of its global total), China (27.5%), Russia (12.6%), Kazakhstan (10.0%), Turkey (9.4%), Kyrgyzstan (2.1%), Tajikistan (1.5%), Ukraine (1.4%), India (1.3%) and Indonesia (0.7%).
From a continental perspective, 53.3% of Uzbekistani exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 46.3% were sold to Europe importers. Smaller percentages went to importers in North America (0.2%), Africa (0.1%), Latin America (also 0.1%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania led by Australia (0.002%).
Given Uzbekistan’s population of 30 million people, its total $8.4 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $280 for every resident in the Central Asian nation.
In macroeconomic terms, Uzbekistan’s total exported goods represent 3.4% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($250.3 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 3.4% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 4.8% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Uzbekistan’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Uzbekistan also provided $4.3 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 1.7% of GDP in PPP.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Uzbekistan’s unemployment rate was 6.9% in 2018 down from 7.2% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.
Uzbekistan’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Uzbekistani global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Uzbekistan.
- Gems, precious metals: US$2.6 billion (30.8% of total exports)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $1.7 billion (19.9%)
- Cotton: $931.3 million (11%)
- Copper: $580.8 million (6.9%)
- Fruits, nuts: $526 million (6.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $490.4 million (5.8%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $244.1 million (2.9%)
- Vegetables: $198.1 million (2.3%)
- Zinc: $162.9 million (1.9%)
- Fertilizers: $153 million (1.8%)
Uzbekistan ’s top 10 exports accounted for 89.6% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 113.6% year over year since 2017 led by petroleum gas.
In second place for improving export sales was vegetables which was up by 20.5%.
Uzbekistan ‘s shipments of fruits and nuts posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 13.6%.
The leading decliner among the top 10 Uzbekistani export categories was gems and precious metals which fell -30.9% year over year, weighted down by shrinking international sales of gold.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, gold represents Uzbekistan ’s most valuable exported product at 29.4% of the country’s total. In second place were petroleum gases (19.3%) trailed by cotton yarn (8.4%), refined copper and unwrought alloys (5.2%), ethylene polymers (5.2%), apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines and plums (2.8%), grapes (2%), zinc (1.9%), uncarded and uncombed cotton (1.6%) then nitrogenous fertilizers (1.2%).
The following types of Uzbekistani 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.
- Gems, precious metals: US$2.6 billion (Down by -31.5% since 2017)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $915.5 million (Up by 1054.7%)
- Cotton: $914.5 million (Up by 2.8%)
- Copper: $573.5 million (Down by -1%)
- Fruits, nuts: $516.1 million (Up by 15.5%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $221.9 million (Up by 1.9%)
- Vegetables: $163.1 million (Up by 45.2%)
- Zinc: $162.4 million (Down by -14.3%)
- Fertilizers: $135.4 million (Down by -13.3%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $68.5 million (Down by -46.2%)
Uzbekistan has highly positive net exports in the international trade of gold. In turn, these cashflows indicate Uzbekistan’s strong competitive advantages under the gems and precious metals category.
Overall Uzbekistan incurred an -$8.3 billion trade deficit for 2018, swelling by 150% from -$3.3 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Uzbekistan that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Uzbekistan’s goods trail Uzbekistani importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$3.9 billion (Up by 69.9% since 2017)
- Vehicles: -$1.9 billion (Up by 105.8%)
- Iron, steel: -$1.3 billion (Up by 37.9%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$1 billion (Up by 47.2%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$689.6 million (Up by 53.6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$596.8 million (Up by 3%)
- Wood: -$542.1 million (Up by 36.1%)
- Cereals: -$320.8 million (Up by 51%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$273.3 million (Up by 5.1%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$262.7 million (Up by 96.6%)
Uzbekistan has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers category.
Uzbekistani Export Companies
Not one Uzbekistani corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2016.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Uzbekistan. Selected examples are shown below:
- Avialeasing (cargo airliner)
- MAN Auto-Uzbekistan (vehicles)
- Navoi Mining and Metallurgy Combinat (uranium, precious metals)
- SamKochAvto (buses, trucks)
- Tashkent Aviation Production Assoc. (aircraft)
- Uzbekneftegaz (oil, gas)
Uzbekistan’s capital city is Tashkent, translated as “City of Stones” from Uzbek.
See also Gold Exports by Country, Grapes Exports by Country and Capital Facts for Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Forbes 2018 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 23, 2019
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 3, 2019
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 3, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 23, 2019
The World Factbook, Central Asia: Uzbekistan. Accessed on April 23, 2019
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 3, 2019
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Uzbekistan. Accessed on April 23, 2019
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 3, 2019