Venezuela’s Top 10 Exports

Venezuelan flag


The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela shipped US$29.2 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017, down by -66.8% since 2013 and with a -1.8% downtick from 2016 to 2017.

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

Economically, Venezuela is highly dependent on its exported oil sales which dominated 98.3% 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 88.3% crude oil compared to 11.7% for refined petroleum oils.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Venezuela’s exported goods plus services represent 8.6% of total Venezuelan economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Please note that the overall value of exported goods and services includes a sizable share of re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

Given Venezuela’s population of 31.3 million people, the estimated $29.2 billion in 2017 Venezuelan exports represents roughly $930 for every person in the country.

Venezuela’s unemployment rate was an estimated 26.4% for 2017, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Venezuela’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Venezuelan global shipments during 2017. 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 (HTS) code level, Venezuela’s most valuable exported products are crude oil followed by refined petroleum oils, acyclic alcohols then iron ores and concentrates.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$26.6 billion (91% of total exports)
  2. Organic chemicals: $532.6 million (1.8%)
  3. Iron, steel: $350.8 million (1.2%)
  4. Ores, slag, ash: $333.4 million (1.1%)
  5. Aluminum: $327.5 million (1.1%)
  6. Fertilizers: $173.9 million (0.6%)
  7. Fish: $151.6 million (0.5%)
  8. Inorganic chemicals: $135.8 million (0.5%)
  9. Copper: $60.3 million (0.2%)
  10. Plastics, plastic articles: $60.1 million (0.2%)

The above categories account for 98.3% of Venezuela’s total exported goods by value.

Among the top 10 Venezuelan exports above, the leading increase from 2016 to 2017 was a 47.2% improvement for organic chemicals.

In second place was exported plastics and plastic articles up 44.8%. Aluminium appreciated by 39.9%.

Two top product categories declined, namely fertilizers via its -15.7% drop and ores, slag and ash with a -8.2% setback.


Overall Venezuela posted a $19.4 billion trade surplus during 2017, up by 35.7% from $14.3 billion in 2016.

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 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.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$24.5 billion (Up by 7.7% since 2016)
  2. Ores, slag, ash: $332.8 million (Down by -8.1%)
  3. Aluminum: $298.7 million (Up by 72.9%)
  4. Iron, steel: $255.1 million (Up by 105.9%)
  5. Organic chemicals: $218.5 million (Reversing a -$168.5 million deficit)
  6. Fish: $148.8 million (Up by 27%)
  7. Fertilizers: $109.8 million (Up by 51.9%)
  8. Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $46 million (Up by 77.6%)
  9. Copper: $43.4 million (Up by 237.2%)
  10. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $34.6 million (Up by 249.8%)

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. Cereals: -US$773.2 million (Down by -6% since 2016)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$526.2 million (Down by -44.1%)
  3. Articles of iron or steel: -$366.7 million (Down by -34.9%)
  4. Vehicles: -$315.8 million (Down by -63.7%)
  5. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$217.7 million (Down by -15.2%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: -$199.4 million (Down by -79.3%)
  7. Cereal/milk preparations: -$196.2 million (Up by 82.4%)
  8. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$185 million (Down by -52.1%)
  9. Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$176.7 million (Down by -52.1%)
  10. Sugar, sugar confectionery: -$162.1 million (Down by -36.9%)

Venezuela has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for cereals, specifically corn followed by wheat and rice.


Venezuelan Export Companies

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

  • Mercantil Servicios
  • Banco Occidental

Both corporations are regional banks.

Wikipedia 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 is Caracas, a city nicknamed The Avila’s Sultana.

The national currency, the Venezuelan bolivar, holds the dubious distinction of leading the world in devaluation since 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 Venezuela’s Top 10 Imports, Top South American Export Countries and Capital Facts for Caracas, Venezuela

Research Sources:
Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 15, 2018

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 15, 2018

The World Factbook, Field Listing: Exports and World Population, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 15, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, Accessed on May 15, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Venezuela. Accessed on May 15, 2018

Wikipedia, Venezuela. Accessed on May 15, 2018