Yemeni imports amounted to US$6.5 billion in 2015, down -35.7% since 2011. Year over year, there was a more intense -46.4% decline from 2014 to 2015.
From a continental perspective, 47.9% of Yemen’s total imports by value in 2015 were purchased from Asian countries. Other Mideast trade partners provided 20% of Yemeni imports, while 14.3% worth of goods originated from Europe. A smaller percentage, 8.5% came from Latin America (including Mexico).
Given Yemen’s population of 27.4 million people, its total $6.5 billion in 2015 imports translates to roughly $235 in yearly product demand from every person in the country.
Yemen’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Yemen’s import purchases during 2015. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Yemen.
- Cereals: US$1.1 billion (17% of total imports)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $781.1 million (12.1%)
- Vehicles : $372.6 million (5.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $287.6 million (4.5%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: $230 million (3.6%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $223.3 million (3.5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $211.3 million (3.3%)
- Machinery including computers: $204.1 million (3.2%)
- Cereal/milk preparations: $198.5 million (3.1%)
- Iron, steel: $191.5 million (3%)
Yemen’s top 10 imports accounted for almost three-fifths (58.9%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Imported knit or crochet clothing had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 6,222% for the 5-year period starting in 2011.
The only other Yemeni import category to appreciate was cereal and milk preparations, up 111%.
Leading the decliners was mineral fuels including oil, posting a -74.5% drop, followed by sugar and sugar confectionery (down -58.1%), machinery including computers (down -56.4%) and imported vehicles (down -41%).
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
In 2015, Yemeni importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of cereals:
- Wheat: US$669.4 million (down -30.4%)
- Rice: $330.5 million (up 38.2%)
- Corn: $92.5 million (down -39.6%)
- Buckwheat, millet, canary seed: $2.9 million (down -21.8%)
- Oats: $668,000 (up 60.6%)
- Sorghum grain: $571,000 (up 1,293%)
- Barley: $167,000 (up 4,075%)
Among these import subcategories, imports of barley (up 4,075%), sorghum grain (up 1,293%) and oats (up 60.6%), grew at the fastest pace from 2011 to 2015.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported cereals among Yemeni businesses and consumers.
In 2015, Yemeni importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of fossil fuel-related products:
- Processed petroleum oils: US$774.7 million (down -73.8%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $4.7 million (down -82%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $1.3 million (down -42.7%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $273,000 (up 370.7%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $58,000 (down -99.9%)
- Peat: $56,000 (up 53.4%)
- Natural bitumen, asphalt, shale: $13,000 (down -56.7%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $10,000 (down -84.4%)
- Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $7,000 (down -83.7%)
- Petroleum gases: $6,000 (down -93.8%)
Among these import subcategories, petroleum oil residues increased in value from 2011 to 2015 with a 370.7% gain. The only other subcategory to appreciate was peat, up 53.4%.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of fossil fuel-related imports among Yemeni businesses and consumers.
In 2015, Yemeni importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles:
- Cars: US$155.2 million (down -62.6%)
- Trucks: $77.2 million (down -3.4%)
- Trailers: $74 million (up 1,340%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $31.7 million (down -19.2%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $9.1 million (down -85.5%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $7.6 million (down -14.7%)
- Motorcycles: $6.5 million (up 222.3%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $4.9 million (up 103.7%)
- Tractors: $3.8 million (down -43.5%)
- Special purpose vehicles: $1.1 million (down -86.5%)
Among these import subcategories, only two grew in value from 2011 to 2015:
Yemeni imports of trailers (up 1,340%), motorcycles (up 222.3%) and bicycles (up 103.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2011 to 2015.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of vehicles-related imports among Yemeni businesses and consumers.
In 2015, Yemeni importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical power-related products:
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: US$45.7 million (up 21,469%)
- Electric storage batteries: $30.6 million (up 78.6%)
- Electric generating sets, converters: $28.3 million (down -19.1%)
- Primary batteries/cells: $24.7 million (up 166.5%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $21.6 million (down -1.3%)
- Portable electric lamps: $21.1 million (up 326.2%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $14.6 million (down -36.6%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $14.3 million (up 43.1%)
- Filament/discharge lamps: $13.2 million (up 159.5%)
- Phone system devices: $12.8 million (down -72.8%)
Among these import subcategories, imports of solar power diodes and semi-conductors (up 21,469%), portable electric lamps (up 326.2%) and primary batteries or cells (up 166.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2011 to 2015.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of electrical power-related imports among Yemeni businesses and consumers.
See also Yemen’s Top 10 Exports and Top Middle Eastern Export Countries
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on October 24, 2016
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on October 24, 2016
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on October 24, 2016