Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, the Armenian dram appreciated by 1.8% against the US dollar since 2016 but depreciated by -1.8% from 2019 to 2020. Armenia’s weaker local currency since 2019 makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers in 2020 paying in US dollars.
The 5 biggest exports from Armenia are copper ores or concentrates, gold, cigars and cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, and molybdenum ores or concentrates. Collectively, those 5 export products represent well over half (56.3%) of Armenia’s revenues from exports during 2020.
Armenia’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 90% of products exported from Armenia were bought by importers in: Russia (26% of the global total), Switzerland (18.5%), China (11.5%), Iraq (6.5%), Bulgaria (6%), Netherlands (3.9%), United Arab Emirates (3.8%), Iran (3.4%), India (2.9%), United States (2.7%), Germany (2.2%) and Georgia (also 2.2%).
From a continental perspective, 68.8% of Armenia exports by value were delivered to European countries while 26.4% were sold to importers in Asia. Armenia shipped another 4.4% worth of goods to North America.
Tinier percentages went to Africa (0.05%), Latin America (0.02%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.004%) mostly Australia.
Given Armenia’s population of 2.97 million people, its total $2.52 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $850 for every resident in the Western Asian country.
Armenia’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Armenian 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 Armenia.
- Ores, slag, ash: US$746.8 million (29.6% of total exports)
- Gems, precious metals: $365.5 million (14.5%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $254.6 million (10.1%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $239.7 million (9.5%)
- Aluminum: $104.7 million (4.2%)
- Iron, steel: $104.6 million (4.2%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $93.6 million (3.7%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $74.3 million (2.9%)
- Fruits, nuts: $57.3 million (2.3%)
- Fish: $49.7 million (2%)
Armenia’s top 10 exports accounted for 83% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Fish was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories for Armenia, up by 84.7% from 2019 to 2020.
In second place for improving export sales was the fruits and nuts category via a 78.9% gain.
Armenia’s shipments of ores, slag and ash posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 12.3%.
The leading decliner among Armenia’s top 10 export categories were iron and steel as materials, thanks to a -30.1% drop year over year.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, copper ores and concentrates represent Armenia ’s most valuable exported product at 24.5% of the country’s total. In second place was gold (10.2%) trailed by cigars, cigarellos and cigarettes (9.5%), alcoholic spirits and liqueurs (8%), molybdenum ores or concentrates (4.1%), iron ferroalloys (3.9%), thin aluminum foil (3.8%), electrical energy (2.8%), unmounted and unset diamonds (2.6%) then fresh whole fish (1.9%).
The following types of Armenian 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.
- Ores, slag, ash: US$743.9 million (Up by 12.2% since 2019)
- Gems, precious metals: $216.1 million (Up by 88%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $206.2 million (Down by -13.2%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $128.7 million (Down by -8.7%)
- Fish: $46.3 million (Up by 109%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $34.3 million (Down by -37.2%)
- Clocks, watches including parts: $30.7 million (Up by 5.7%)
- Vegetables: $24.1 million (Up by 22.2%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $10.3 million (Up by 135.7%)
- Live animals: $10.1 million (Up by 1,060%)
Armenia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of ores or concentrates notably those for copper, zinc, molybdenum and precious metals. In turn, these cashflows indicate Armenia’s strong competitive advantages under the ores, slag and ash product category.
Armenia incurred an overall -$2.02 billion trade deficit for 2020, down by -17.5% from -$2.45 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Armenia that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Armenia’s goods trail Armenian importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$643.2 million (Down by -7.7% since 2019)
- Machinery including computers: -$504.5 million (Up by 9.2%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$323.9 million (Down by -8.8%)
- Vehicles: -$152.6 million (Down by -43.5%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$142.6 million (Down by -23.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$121.3 million (Down by -10.6%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$101 million (Up by 12.6%)
- Cereals: -$96.6 million (Up by 31.3%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$84.7 million (Up by 55.3%)
- Paper, paper items: -$79.7 million (Down by -11.4%)
Armenia has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits notably for petroleum gases and refined petroleum oils under the mineral fuels including oil category.
Armenian Export Companies
Not one Armenian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists export-related companies from Armenia. Selected examples are shown below:
- Ararat Cement (construction materials)
- Avshar Wine Factory (winery)
- Jermuk Mineral Water Factory (mineral water)
- Kotayk Brewery (alcoholic beverages)
- Multi Group Stone (stone works)
- Ucom (telecommunications)
- Yerevan Brandy Company (alcoholic beverages)
- Yerevan Computer Research and Development Institute (technology)
- Yerevan Confectionery and Macaroni Factory (food)
- Zangezur Copper and Molybdenum (metals)
In macroeconomic terms, Armenia’s total exported goods represent 6.4% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($39.4 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 6.4% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 7.9% one year earlier. This seems to indicate a decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Armenia’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Armenia’s average unemployment rate was 24.169% for 2020, up from an average 18.9% in 2019 according to the International Monetary Fund.
Armenia’s capital city is Yerevan.
See also Zambia’s Top 10 Exports, Turkey’s Top 10 Exports and Top Asian Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, Country Profiles, The World Factbook. Accessed on September 22, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 22, 2021
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average)
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on September 22, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 22, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 22, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on September 22, 2021
Wikipedia, Armenia. Accessed on September 22, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on September 22, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Armenia. Accessed on September 22, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on September 22, 2021