Year over year, revenue collected for Bahrain’s exports increased by 8% from $11.6 billion during 2020.
The top 3 most valuable exported products from Bahrain in 2021 were raw aluminum, processed petroleum oils, and products made with reduced iron ore. Combined, this trio of major exported products accounted for almost three-fifths (58.1%) of Bahrain’s total exports by value. Such a high percentage indicates a relatively concentrated portfolio of exports.
Bahrain’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 71.1% of products exported from Bahrain were bought by importers in: Saudi Arabia (21.8% of Bahrain’s global total), United Arab Emirates (11.4%), United States of America (7.8%), Oman (5.4%), Netherlands (4.6%), Malaysia (4.5%), Egypt (3.9%), India (3.5%), Kuwait (2.5%), Turkey (2.2%), South Korea (1.9%) then Italy (1.6%).
From a continental perspective, 68.2% of Bahrain’s exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 11.4% were sold to importers in Europe. Bahrain shipped another 9.1% worth of goods to North America.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (8.4%), Latin America (2.1%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.8%) mainly Australia and New Zealand.
Given Bahrain’s population of 1.487 million people, its total $12.48 billion in 2021 exports translates to about $8,400 for every resident in the Middle Eastern country. That dollar metric outpaces the average $5,300 per capita one year earlier for 2020.
Bahrain’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in Bahraini global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Bahrain.
- Aluminum: US$4.3 billion (34.3% of total exports)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $3.8 billion (30.5%)
- Iron, steel: $1.3 billion (10.3%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $438.1 million (3.5%)
- Fertilizers: $292.4 million (2.3%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $253.9 million (2%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $235.8 million (1.9%)
- Glass: $158 million (1.3%)
- Organic chemicals: $157.4 million (1.3%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: $153.4 million (1.2%)
Bahrain’s top 10 exports accounted for 88.7% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Inorganic chemicals represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 416% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place for improving export sales were the materials iron and steel which rose 109.7%.
Bahrain’s shipments of fertilizers posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 69.5% year over year.
The leading decliner among Bahrain’s top 10 export categories was ores, slag and ash which fell -45.8%. That product category was weighed down by deteriorating international revenues from exported iron ores and concentrates.
At the more concentrated four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Bahrain’s exports of aluminum ranks as the country’s most valuable export accounting for 27.1% of overall export sales. In second place was processed petroleum oils (25.2%) trailed by iron ore-reduced products (5.8%), crude oil (3.6%), iron ores and concentrates (3.5%), aluminum wire (3.4%), semi-finished products made from iron or non-alloy steel (2.4%), nitrogenous fertilizers (2.3%), aluminum plates, sheets and strips (2.2%), then ammonia (1.6%).
Products Generating Bahrain’s Best Trade Surpluses
Overall, Bahrain generated an estimated $1.1 billion trade surplus for 2021, reversing -$3.9 billion deficit from -$3.9 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2020.
The following types of Bahraini 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.
- Aluminum: US$4.2 billion (Up by 55.7% since 2020)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $3.3 billion (Up by 691.3%)
- Iron, steel: $1.1 billion (Up by 166.9%)
- Fertilizers: $291.8 million (Up by 72.2%)
- Copper: $89.1 million (Reversing a -$3.5 million deficit)
- Organic chemicals: $77.8 million (Up by 55.8%)
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $39.9 million (Reversing a -$14.5 million deficit)
- Railways, streetcars: $13.4 million (Down by -29.9%)
- Fish: $10.5 million (Up by 35.5%)
- Woodpulp: $10.1 million (Reversing an -$8.6 million deficit)
Bahrain has positive net exports in the international trade of aluminum-related materials and goods. In turn, these cashflows indicate Bahrain’s strong competitive advantages under the aluminum category.
Products Causing Bahrain’s Largest Trade Deficits
Below are exports from Bahrain that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Bahrain’s goods trail Bahraini importer spending on foreign products.
- Ores, slag, ash: -US$1.8 billion (Reversing a $19 million surplus for 2020)
- Machinery including computers: -$975.7 million (Down by -41.3% since 2020)
- Vehicles: -$794.8 million (Up by 39.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$578.4 million (Down by -49.2%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: -$495.3 million (Reversing an $86 million surplus)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$252.8 million (Down by -23.3%)
- Meat: -$210.6 million (Down by -9.1%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$187.7 million (Down by -28.5%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$186.9 million (Up by 17.6%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$185.7 million (Up by 4.9%)
Bahrain has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for iron ores and concentrates under the ores, slag and ash product category.
Bahraini Export Companies
Two Bahraini regional banks rank among Forbes Global 2000 corporations, namely Ahli United Bank and Arab Banking.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Bahrain. Selected examples are shown below:
- Al Baraka Banking Group (investment banking)
- Aluminium Bahrain (aluminum and related products)
- Bahrain Petroleum Company (oil, gas)
- Banagas (natural gas)
- DHL International Aviation ME (cargo transportation)
- Fakhro Group (industrial conglomerate)
- Nass Corporation B.S.C. (construction materials)
- Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo (travel, shipping, technology conglomerate)
In macroeconomic terms, Bahrain’s total exported goods represent an estimated 15.7% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($79.4 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 15.7% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 10.2% for 2020. Those percentages indicate a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Bahrain’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Bahrain’s unemployment rate averaged 6.6% for 2021, up from an average 5.9% in 2020 according to the International Monetary Fund.
Bahrain’s capital city is Manama, a name meaning “place of rest” or “place of dreams” in Arabic.
See also Saudi Arabia’s Top 10 Exports, Jordan’s Top 10 Exports, UAE’s Top 10 Exports and Top Aluminum Exporters by Country Plus Average Unit Prices
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Middle East: Bahrain. Accessed on August 22, 2022
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Bahrain. Accessed on August 22, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 22, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 22, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 22, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 22, 2022
Richest Country Reports, Top 100 Richest Countries by GDP. Accessed on August 22, 2022
Wikipedia, Bahrain. Accessed on August 22, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on August 22, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Bahrain. Accessed on August 22, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on August 22, 2022
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Manama, Bahrain. Accessed on August 22, 2022