That dollar amount reflects a 28.2% increase since 2016 but a -7.5% decline from 2019 to 2020.
Albania’s 5 biggest exports by value are insoles and heel cushions, leather footwear, unknitted and non-crocheted men’s suits or trousers, iron or non-alloy steel bars and rods, and hydraulic cements. Collectively, that quintet of leading exported goods represents about one-third (33.4%) of the overall revenues collected for Albanian shipments.
Albania’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 87.6% of products exported from Albania were bought by importers in: Italy (45.4% of the global total), Serbia (12%), Spain (6.1%), Germany (5.9%), Greece (4.9%), North Macedonia (3.3%), France (2%), Montenegro (1.9%), China (1.8%), Czech Republic (1.6%), Bulgaria (1.4%) and Romania (1.3%).
From a continental perspective, 93.3% of Albania’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 4.7% were sold to importers in Asia.
Albania shipped another 1.3% worth of goods to North America. Even smaller percentages went to Africa (0.6%), Oceania led by Australia and the Marshall Islands (0.1%), and Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.05%).
Given Albania’s population of 2.88 million people, its total $2.5 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $875 for every resident in the Southeast European country.
Albania’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Albanian global shipments during 2020, 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 Albania.
- Footwear: US$416.4 million (16.6% of total exports)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $271 million (10.8%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $214 million (8.5%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $209.8 million (8.3%)
- Iron, steel: $196.8 million (7.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $131.4 million (5.2%)
- Vegetables: $81.8 million (3.3%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $79.7 million (3.2%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $75.5 million (3%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $64.6 million (2.6%)
Albania’s top 10 exports accounted for 69.2% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Electrical machinery and equipment represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 19.6% from 2019 to 2020.
In second place for improving export sales were vegetables via a 14.8% gain.
Albania’s shipments under the salt, sulphur, stone and cement category posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 10.1%.
The leading decliner among Albania’s top 10 export categories was mineral fuels including oil, thanks to a -29.8% drop year over year. That product category was weighed down by lower international sales of refined petroleum oils from Albania.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, insoles and heel cushions represent Albania’s most valuable exported product at an estimated 10.3% of the country’s total. In second place was leather footwear (8.2%) trailed by unknitted and non-crocheted men’s suits and trousers (7.4%), iron or non-alloy steel bars and rods (4.5%), hydraulic cements (3.1%), medicinal plants (2.1%) then fresh or chilled tomatoes (2%).
The following types of Albanian 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.
- Footwear: US$313.1 million (Down by -17.1% since 2019)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $149.2 million (Up by 2.6%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $75.4 million (Down by -0.3%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $67.7 million (Down by -6.4%)
- Vegetables: $61.1 million (Up by 28.2%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $45.1 million (Up by 13.5%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $40.6 million (Down by -5.5%)
- Oil seeds: $33.2 million (Up by 9.6%)
- Copper: $8.5 million (Up by 5.2%)
- Lead: $4 million (Down by -2.7%)
Albania has highly positive net exports in the international trade of footwear. In turn, these cashflows indicate Albania’s strong competitive advantages under the footwear product category.
Overall Albania incurred an estimated -$3.1 billion product trade deficit for 2020, down by -3.2% from -$3.2 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Albania that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Albania’s goods trail Albanian importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$391.2 million (Up by 3.9% since 2019)
- Vehicles: -$360 million (Down by -5.9%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$277.7 million (Down by -10.2%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$256.3 million (Down by -29%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$232.9 million (Up by 7.3%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$201.1 million (Up by 6.4%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$104.3 million (Down by -8.3%)
- Cereals: -$104 million (Up by 7.4%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$98.3 million (Down by -17.7%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: -$97.1 million (Down by -26.8%)
Albania has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery-related product category, notably for mobile phones.
Albanian Export Companies
Not one Albanian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists some exports-related companies from Albania. Selected examples are shown below.
- AlbChrome (chrome, ferrochrome)
- Albpetrol (oil, gas)
- Antea Cement (cement)
- Birra Tirana (beer)
- Birra Korça (beer)
- Military Export Import Company MEICO (military equipment)
- Taçi Oil (oil, gas)
In macroeconomic terms, Albania’s total exported goods represent 6.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($40.8 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 6.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 6.9% for 2019. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Albania’s total economic performance, albeit based on short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Albania’s average unemployment rate was 11.675% for 2020, up from 11.47% one year earlier according to the International Monetary Fund.
Albania’s capital city is Tirana.
See also Montenegro’s Top 10 Exports, Italy’s Top 10 Exports and Top EU Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Europe: Albania. Accessed on October 29, 2021
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Albania. Accessed on October 29, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 29, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on October 29, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 29, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on October 29, 2021
Wikipedia, Albania. Accessed on October 29, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on October 29, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Albania. Accessed on October 29, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on October 29, 2021