That dollar amount reflects a 44.1% gain from $15.7 billion five years earlier in 2017.
Year over year, Croatia’s global export sales accelerated by 33.4% compared to $17 billion during 2020.
The top 5 most valuable Croatian exports are electrical energy, processed petroleum oils, crude oil, medication mixes in dosage, and sawn wood. Combined, that quintet of major exports represent 19.3% of overall Croatian sales of exported products.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2021, the Croatian kuna appreciated by 4% against the US dollar since 2017 and increased by 3.8% from 2020 to 2021. Croatia’s stronger local currency makes its exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive for international buyers.
Croatia’s Main Trade Partners
From a continental perspective, 90.1% of Croatia’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 4.2% were sold to importers in Asia. Croatia shipped another 3.5% worth of goods to North America.
Croatia exported smaller percentages to Oceania (1.1%) led by Australia, Africa (0.9%) ,then Latin America excluding Mexico (0.2%) but including the Caribbean.
From a continental perspective, 89.6% of Croatia’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 5% were sold to importers in Asia. Croatia shipped another 3.7% worth of goods to North America. Smaller percentages went to Africa (1.3%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.2%) then Oceania led by Australia (0.1%).
Given Croatia’s population of 4.034 million people, its total $22.7 billion worth of exported goods in 2021 translates to roughly $5,600 for every resident in the European nation. That dollar metric eclipses the average $4,200 per capita one year earlier during 2020.
Croatia’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Croatian global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Croatia.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$3.5 billion (15.6% of total exports)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $2 billion (8.8%)
- Machinery including computers: $1.6 billion (7.1%)
- Wood: $1.2 billion (5.4%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $1.2 billion (5.1%)
- Vehicles: $753.3 million (3.3%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $733.4 million (3.2%)
- Aluminum: $726.3 million (3.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $699.1 million (3.1%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $644 million (2.8%)
Croatia’s top 10 exports accounted for 57.7% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 129.8% from 2020 to 2021. That category was mainly propelled by higher international sales of Croatian petroleum oils (both crude and processed) as well as petroleum gases.
In second place for improving export sales was plastics, plastic articles via a 36.7% advance.
Croatia’s shipments of wood posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 35.6%.
The leading decliner among Croatia’s top 10 export categories was vehicles, thanks to its -2% year-over-year drop.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Croatia’s most valuable exported product in 2020 was electrical energy (5.2% of total Croatian exports). That category was trailed by processed petroleum oils (4.5%), crude oil (4%), medication mixes in dosage (3.4%), sawn wood (2.2%), electrical converters or power units (1.9%), insulated wire or cable (also 1.9%), petroleum gases (1.7%), blood fractions including antisera (1.6%), then automobile parts or accessories (1.4%).
Products Generating Croatia’s Greatest Trade Surpluses
The following types of Croatian 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 reflect 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.
- Wood: US$722.9 million (Up by 38.1% since 2020)
- Cereals: $336.million (Up by 17.9%)
- Ships, boats: $272.7 million (Reversing a -$138.9 million deficit in 2020)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $197.2 million (Up by 16.5%)
- Oil seeds: $161.4 million (Up by 19.4%)
- Arms, ammunition: $145.8 million (Up by 31.3%)
- Fish: $88.7 million (Down by -9.1%)
- Railways, streetcars: $81.8 million (Up by 6.3%)
- Fertilizers: $63.9 million (Down by -17.5%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $54.3 million (Down by -16.2%)
Croatia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of lumber. In turn, these cashflows indicate Croatia’s strong competitive advantages under the wood product category.
Products Creating Croatia’s Largest Trade Deficits
Croatia incurred an overall -$11 billion trade deficit during 2021, expanding by 20.5% from -$9.1 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2020.
Below are exports from Croatia that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Croatia’s goods trail Croatian importer spending on foreign products.
- Vehicles: -US$1.5 billion (Up by 49.6% since 2020)
- Machinery including computers: -$1.4 billion (Up by 13.9%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$1.1 billion (Up by 63.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$895.1 million (Up by 40.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$769.1 million (Up by 5.8%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$641.6 million (Up by 2.7%)
- Iron, steel: -$638.2 million (Up by 56.9%)
- Other chemical goods: -$400.3 million (Up by 45.3%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$383.2 million (Up by 8.5%)
- Meat: -$354.4 million (Up by 15.5%)
Croatia has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for vehicles, particularly cars and trucks and, to a lesser extent, tractors and motorcycles.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Croatia’s competitive disadvantages in the international fossil fuel market, but also represent key opportunities for Croatia to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations particularly in alternative energy sources.
Croatian Export Companies
Not one of Croatia’s corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia does list exporters from Croatia. Selected examples are shown below.
- Efke (photographic papers, chemicals)
- Koestlin (biscuits, other confectionery products)
- Podravka (food)
- Rimac Automobili (electric vehicles)
- Vindija (dairy products)
- Viro (refined sugar)
In macroeconomic terms, Croatia’s total exported goods represent 17.1% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($132.9 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 17.1% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 15.3% for 2020. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Croatia’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Croatia’s unemployment rate averaged 8.169% for 2021, down from an average 9% in 2020 according to International Monetary Fund statistics.
Zagreb is the capital city of the Republic of Croatia.
See also Slovenia’s Top 10 Exports, Italy’s Top Trading Partners, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Top 10 Exports, Germany’s Top 10 Exports and United Kingdom’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Europe: Croatia. Accessed on August 5, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 5, 2022
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 August 5, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 5, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 5, 2022
Wikipedia, Croatia. Accessed on August 5, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on August 5, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Croatia. Accessed on August 5, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on August 5, 2022