Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, the Bosnia-Herzegovina convertible mark appreciated by 2.9% against the US dollar since 2016 and increased by 1.7% from 2019 to 2020. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s stronger local currency makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively more expensive for international buyers during 2020 paying based on American currency.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 82.7% of products exported from Bosnia and Herzegovina were bought by importers in: Germany (14.6% of the global total), Croatia (12.2%), Serbia (11.4%), Italy (11.3%), Austria (9.5%), Slovenia (8.8%), Montenegro (3.5%), Turkey (2.5%), Hungary (2.3%), France (also 2.3%), Netherlands (2.1%) and Switzerland (also 2.1%).
From a continental perspective, 93.6% of Bosnia and Herzegovina exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 4.4% were sold to importers in Asia. Bosnia and Herzegovina shipped another 1.1% worth of goods to Africa.
Tinier percentages went to North America (0.8%), Oceania (0.1%) led by Australia, then Latin America (0.03%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Given Bosnia and Herzegovina’s population of 3.3 million people, its total $6.5 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $1,900 for every resident in the Southeastern European nation.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Bosniak and Herzegovinian global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: US$599.2 million (9.7% of total exports)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $475.6 million (7.7%)
- Machinery including computers: $449.9 million (7.3%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $422.7 million (6.9%)
- Wood: $417.8 million (6.8%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $414.9 million (6.7%)
- Footwear: $368.7 million (6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $299.4 million (4.9%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $294.9 million (4.8%)
- Iron, steel: $269.1 million (4.4%)
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s top 10 exports accounted for 65.2% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Plastics both as materials plus articles made from plastics was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 6.5% from 2019 to 2020.
In second place for improving export sales was electrical machinery, equipment via a 5.7% gain.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s shipments of furniture, bedding, lighting, signs and prefabricated buildings posted the only other gain in value, up by 3.9%.
The leading decliner among Bosnia and Herzegovina’s top 10 export categories was mineral fuels including oil thanks to a -22% drop year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most valuable export products are chairs or seats (4.8% of global total), electrical energy (4.7%), miscellaneous furniture (3.4%), miscellaneous iron and steel structures (3.1%), sawn wood (also 3.1%), insulated wire or cable (3%) and insoles and heel cushions (2.5%).
The following types of Bosniak and Herzegovinian 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.
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: US$453.9 million (Up by 10.5% since 2019)
- Inorganic chemicals: $255 million (Down by -5.4%)
- Wood: $251.8 million (Up by 0.5%)
- Footwear: $200.8 million (Down by -10.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $134.6 million (Down by -12.6%)
- Arms, ammunition: $88.1 million (Down by -22.1%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $33.4 million (Up by 323.2%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $29 million (Down by -37.8%)
- Umbrellas, walking-sticks: $6.5 million (Down by -13.1%)
- Explosives, pyrotechnics, matches: $6.5 million (Up by 279.3%)
Bosnia and Herzegovina generated highly positive net exports in the international trade of furniture and prefabricated buildings. In turn, these cashflows indicate Bosnia and Herzegovina’s strong competitive advantages under the furniture, bedding, lighting, signs and prefab buildings product category.
Bosnia and Herzegovina incurred an overall -$3.7 billion trade deficit during 2020, down by -18.8% from -$4.6 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Bosnia and Herzegovina that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Bosnia and Herzegovina’s goods trail Bosniak and Herzegovinian importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$539.8 million (Down by -47.7% since 2019)
- Vehicles: -$432.7 million (Down by -29.5%)
- Machinery including computers: -$340.2 million (Down by -25.6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$310.7 million (Up by 9.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$288.4 million (Down by -9.9%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$208.7 million (Down by -1.1%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$159.3 million (Up by 17.8%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: -$156.2 million (Up by 6.1%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$144 million (Down by -10.9%)
- Meat: -$130.8 million (Down by -21.3%)
Bosnia and Herzegovina posted highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related products notably petroleum oils, coal and petroleum gases.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Bosnia and Herzegovina’s competitive disadvantages in the international mineral fuels market, but also represent key opportunities for Bosnia and Herzegovina to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.
Bosniak and Herzegovinian Export Companies
Not one Bosniak and Herzegovinian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia does list exporters from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Selected examples are shown below.
- Agrokomerc (food)
- Aluminij d.d. Mostar (aluminum)
- Energopetrol (oil, gas)
- Sarajevska pivara (beer, soft drinks, water)
- Telekom Srpske (internet services)
In macroeconomic terms, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s total exported goods represent 12.5% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($49.3 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 12.5% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 13.2% one year earlier. Those percentages indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s average unemployment rate was 19% for 2020, up from an average 15.7% one year earlier according to the International Monetary Fund.
Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital city is Sarajevo.
See also Croatia’s Top 10 Exports, France’s Top 10 Exports and European Union’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, Country Profiles, The World Factbook. Accessed on September 27, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 27, 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 27, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 27, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 27, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on September 27, 2021
Wikipedia, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Accessed on September 27, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Accessed on September 27, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on September 27, 2021