Venezuela’s Top 10 Exports

Venezuelan flag


A federal republic on South America’s northern coast, Venezuela is bordered by Guayana to its east, Brazil to its south and Colombia to its west.

Venezuela shipped US$29.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016, down by -48.6% since 2009 when the Great Recession kicked in and down by -24.3% from 2015 to 2016.

Venezuela is highly dependent on exported oil which dominated 98.6% of the country’s total product shipments, bearing witness to Venezuela’s vulnerability to the global downswing in oil prices. Venezuela’s oil exports break down to 86% crude oil compared to 14% for refined petroleum oils.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Venezuela’s total Gross Domestic Product was $401.4 billion as of April 2017. That metric represents a -16.2% deterioration from April 2016, according to

Using the latest GDP numbers, exports during 2016 account for about 7.2% of total Venezuelan economic output.

Given Venezuela’s population of 30.9 million people, the estimated $29.1 billion in 2016 Venezuelan exports represents roughly $950 for every person in the country.

Venezuela’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Venezuelan global shipments during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Venezuela. At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Venezuela’s most valuable exported products are crude oil followed by refined petroleum oils then gold.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$24 billion (82.6% of total exports)
  2. Gems, precious metals: $2.9 billion (10%)
  3. Organic chemicals: $377.5 million (1.3%)
  4. Ores, slag, ash: $354.1 million (1.2%)
  5. Iron, steel: $271 million (0.9%)
  6. Aluminum: $236.9 million (0.8%)
  7. Fertilizers: $198 million (0.7%)
  8. Inorganic chemicals: $131.6 million (0.5%)
  9. Fish: $112.1 million (0.4%)
  10. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $45.3 million (0.2%)

Among the top 10 Venezuelan exports above, unwrought or semi-manufactured gold led the gems and precious metals category to an exponential gain in value since 2009.

In second place was exported fish up 694.2% for the 7-year period ending in 2016. The organic chemicals product category appreciated by 511.3% over the same period. Fertilizers exports improved by 262.6% while shipments belonging to the beverages, spirits and vinegar category moved ahead by 107.2%.

Iron and steel was the biggest loser among Venezuela’s top 10 export categories, down by -69.5% from 2009 to 2016. Venezuela’s number one export–mineral fuels including oil–depreciated by -55.7%.

Venezuela’s unemployment rate was 7.3% as of April 2016 down from 6% in December 2015, according to Trading Economics.


Overall, Venezuela posted a $14.3 billion trade surplus during 2016 down by -19.9% from $17.9 billion in 2009.

The following types of Venezuelan 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 is 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.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$22.2 billion (Down by -57.9% since 2009)
  2. Gems, precious metals: $2.9 billion (Down by -6,732%)
  3. Ores, slag, ash: $353.2 million (Up by 137.8%)
  4. Aluminum: $177.1 million (Down by -43.4%)
  5. Fish: $108.4 million (Down by -150.1%)
  6. Iron, steel: $106.1 million (Down by -78.1%)
  7. Fertilizers: $64.1 million (Down by -154.4%)
  8. Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $25.7 million (Down by -138.7%)
  9. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $18.4 million (Down by -108.7%)
  10. Lead: $12.2 million (Down by -422.2%)

Venezuela has highly positive net exports particularly in the international trade of crude oil and, to a lesser extent, refined petroleum oils. In turn, these cashflows indicate Venezuela’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels including oil category.


Below are exports from Venezuela that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Venezuela’s goods trail Venezuelan importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Machinery including computers: US-$2.3 billion (Down by -68.3% since 2009)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$904.9 million (Down by -79%)
  3. Pharmaceuticals: -$845.5 million (Down by -62%)
  4. Vehicles : -$834.3 million (Down by -29%)
  5. Cereals: -$814.7 million (Up by 5.9%)
  6. Articles of iron or steel: -$557.6 million (Down by -48.3%)
  7. Meat: -$373.2 million (Down by -61.9%)
  8. Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$368.7 million (Down by -30.1%)
  9. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$364.7 million (Down by -72.1%)
  10. Plastics, plastic articles: -$292.8 million (Down by -69.8%)

Venezuela has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery, including equipment that can be used to automate the production of other goods.


Venezuelan Export Companies

Only two Venezuelan corporations ranked among Forbes Global 2000 in 2015, namely:

  • Mercantil Servicios
  • Banco Occidental

Both corporations are regional banks.

Wikipedia also lists exporters from Venezuela. Selected examples are shown below:

Citgo Petroleum Corporation and Petróleos de Venezuela are two of Venezuela’s largest oil and gas companies.

CVG Alcasa is a leading aluminum producer. Siderúrgica del Orinoco and Siderúrgica del Turbio, S.A. are examples of Venezuelan steel manufacturers.

Venezuela’s capital city is Caracas.

The national currency, the Venezuelan bolivar, holds the dubious distinction of leading the world in devaluation during 2016. A weaker bolivar means that Venezuelan exporters have to sell more products to bring in the same revenues priced in costlier U.S. dollars or else face a dramatic decline in the overall value of their global shipments.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Top South American Export Countries and Capital Facts for Caracas, Venezuela

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 25, 2017

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports and World Population, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 25, 2017

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Venezuela. Accessed on April 25, 2017

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 25, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, Accessed on April 25, 2017