That estimated dollar amount results from a -67.4% decline since 2018 when Belarusian exports totaled $33.7 billion.
Year over year, overall exports sold by Belarus shrank by -72.4% compared to $39.9 billion during 2021.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2022, the Belarusian ruble shrank by -28.9% against the US dollar since 2018 and diluted by -3.4% from 2021 to 2022. Belarus’s weaker local currency made Belarusian exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
Biggest Belarusian Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data is for 2021. Those metrics show that three-quarters (75.1%) of products exported from Belarus were bought by importers in: Russia (49.2% of the global total), Poland (5.6%), Ukraine (4.3%), Lithuania (4.2%), Germany (2.8%), Kazakhstan (2.7%), mainland China (2%), Latvia (1.6%), Netherlands (1%), Uzbekistan (0.64%), Azerbaijan (0.61%) and United States of America (0.6%).
From a continental perspective, 88.5% of Belarusian exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 10% was sold to importers in Asia.
Belarus shipped another 0.8% worth of goods to North America. Even tinier percentages went to Africa (0.5%), Latin America (0.1%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.01%) mostly Australia and New Zealand.
Given the Belarusian population of 9.3 million people, its total estimated $11 billion in 2022 exports translates to roughly $1,200 for every resident in the Eastern European country. That dollar metric falls far below the average $4,300 per capita one year earlier during 2021.
Belarus Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Belarusian global shipments during 2022 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 Belarus.
- Fertilizers: US$2.3 billion (21.1% of total exports)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $1.2 billion (11.2%)
- Wood: $1.1 billion (10.2%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $626.6 million (5.7%)
- Meat: $570.3 million (5.2%)
- Vehicles: $439.5 million (4%)
- Iron, steel: $438.4 million (4%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: $429.7 million (3.9%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $376.8 million (3.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $293.5 million (2.7%)
The top 10 exports from Belarus approach two-thirds (71.3%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes was the sole gainer among the top 10 export categories, up by 18.9% from 2021 to 2022.
The severest decliner among Belarus’s top 10 export categories was dairy, eggs and honey, pulled down by a -84.2% year-over-year drop.
Products Generating Biggest Trade Surpluses for Belarus
The following types of Belarusian 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.
- Fertilizers: US$2.3 billion (2021 data unavailable)
- Wood: $1.1 billion (Down by -47.3% since 2021)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $1.1 billion (2021 data unavailable)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $607.6 million (Up by 106%)
- Meat: $519 million (Down by -32%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: $422 million (Down by -84%)
- Iron, steel: $323.3 million (Reversing a -$991.8 million deficit)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $228.7 million (Down by -66%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $87.8 million (Reversing a -$215.2 million deficit)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $80 million (Down by -80.2%)
Belarus has highly positive net exports in the international trade of fertilizers. In turn, these cashflows indicate Belarus’s strong competitive advantages under the fertilizers-related product category.
Products Causing Worst Trade Deficits for Belarus
Belarus incurred an overall -US$1.56 billion trade deficit during 2022, down by -18.8% from -$1.9 billion one year earlier in 2021.
Below are exports from Belarus that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Belarus goods trail Belarusian importer spending on foreign products.
- Vehicles: -US$1.9 billion (Up by 108.9% since 2021)
- Machinery including computers: -$1.2 billion (Down by -25.9%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$771.7 million (Down by -49.3%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$533.3 million (Down by -20.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$441.5 million (Down by -25.7%)
- Knit or crochet fabric: -$346.9 million (Up by 187.5%)
- Tanning, dyes, paints, varnishes, ink: -$251.7 million (Up by 224%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$237.7 million (Down by -4.4%)
- Fruits, nuts: -$204.8 million (Down by -35.1%)
- Other chemical goods: -$167.9 million (Up by 57%)
Belarus has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the vehicles product category, particularly for cars and automotive parts or accessories.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Belarusian competitive disadvantages in the global machinery market, but also represent key opportunities for Belarus to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations and trade alliances.
Belarusian Export Companies
Given that Belarus is an emerging economy, it should come as no surprise that no Belarusian corporation appears on the Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia does list Belarusian export companies. Selected examples are shown below.
- BelAZ (haulage, earth-moving equipment)
- Belkamunmash (electric public transport vehicles)
- Belshina (pneumatic tires)
- Beltransgaz (natural gas)
- Byelorussian Steel Works (steel)
- JSC Defense Systems (air defense manufacturer)
- Minsk Automobile Plant (automobiles)
- Minsk Motorcycle (motorcycles)
- Minsk Tractor Works (tractors)
- Olivaria (brewery)
- TransAVIAexport Airlines (cargo airline)
- Velcom (mobile phones)
In macroeconomic terms, Belarus’ total exported goods represent 5.3% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($207.6 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 5.3% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2022 compares to 19.7% for 2021. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Belarus’ total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe and including estimated calculations.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Unemployment in Belarus averaged 4.5% for 2022 up from an average 3.925% one year earlier in 2021, according to statistics from the International Monetary Fund.
See also Belarus Top Trading Partners, Russia’s Top 10 Imports, Ukraine’s Top 10 Imports, Russia’s Top 10 Exports, European Union’s Top Trading Partners
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 23, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 23, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 23, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 23, 2023
Wikipedia, Belarus. Accessed on August 23, 2023
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on August 23, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Belarus. Accessed on August 23, 2023
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on August 23, 2023