Applying a continental lens, 45.8% of Cyprus’ exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 22.1% were sold to importers in Asia. Cyprus shipped another 18.1% worth of goods to Africa.
Smaller percentages went to Oceania led by Marshall Islands and Australia (7.4%), North America (4.2%) then Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (2.5%).
Cyprus Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of Cyprus’ top trading partners. These are countries that imported the most Cypriot shipments by dollar value during 2020. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Cypriot exports.
- Greece: US$261.6 million (8.6% of Cyprus’ total exports)
- Liberia: $224.7 million (7.4%)
- United Kingdom: $202.3 million (6.6%)
- Libya: $185.1 million (6.1%)
- Marshall Islands: $176.4 million (5.8%)
- Netherlands: $171.3 million (5.6%)
- France: $129.7 million (4.2%)
- China: $96.1 million (3.1%)
- Israel: $96 million (3.1%)
- Lebanon: $93.8 million (3.1%)
- United States: $87.7 million (2.9%)
- Germany: $68.1 million (2.2%)
- Hong Kong: $59.7 million (2%)
- Vietnam: $53.5 million (1.8%)
- Russia: $52.8 million (1.7%)
Approaching two-thirds (60.4%) of Cypriot exports in 2020 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
From 2019 to 2020 five top trading partners increased purchases of exported goods from Cyprus by triple digits. These were Liberia (up 281.5%), France (up 180.6%), Vietnam (up 155.8%), China (up 149%) and the Marshall Islands (up 122.8%).
Leading the decliners year over year were the Netherlands (down -62.4%), Libya (down -47.6%) and Hong Kong (down -34.2%).
Cyprus incurred an overall -$5.6 billion trade deficit during 2020, down -1.2% from the -$5.7 billion in red ink one year earlier.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit. It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Cyprus incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- Greece: -US$1.6 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2020)
- Italy: -$685.5 million
- Germany: -$511.1 million
- United Kingdom: -$506.9 million
- China: -$411.8 million
- British Virgin Islands: -$360.6 million
- Spain: -$255.3 million
- Belgium: -$253.1 million
- Netherlands: -$246.9 million
- Cayman Islands: -$229.9 million
Among Cyprus’ trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Cypriot deficits with the British Virgin Islands (up 3,272%), United Kingdom (up 16.1%) and Germany (up 7.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
In addition, Cyprus reversed a -$323.1 million deficit in 2019 trading with the Netherlands to generate a $58.7 million surplus for 2020.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Cyprus’ competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Cyprus to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
Cyprus generated the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- Libya: US$185.1 million (country-specific trade surplus in 2020.)
- Marshall Islands: $141.5 million
- Liberia: $123.4 million
- Lebanon: $69.7 million
- Hong Kong: $43.7 million
- Kenya: $29.4 million
- United States: $25 million
- Mexico: $23.1 million
- Australia: $22.7 million
- Antigua and Barbuda: $22.1 million
Among Cyprus’ trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Cypriot surpluses with Marshall Islands (up 1,510%), Lebanon (up 85.6%) and Australia (up 62.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
In addition 3 trading partners allowed Cyprus to reverse deficits in 2019 posting the surpluses listed above namely the United States, Liberia and Kenya.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Cyprus’ competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Cyprus to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Cypriot Trading Partners
Not one corporation headquartered in Cyprus ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists companies from Cyprus that are players in international trade. Selected examples are shown below.
- ASBIS (computer hardware/software, mobile gadgets)
- Cyprus Wine Coverage-KEO (alcoholic beverages, juices, bottle water)
- Francoudi & Stephanou (trading conglomerate, shipping, alcohol)
- Leon Beer (brewery)
- Petrolina (oil, gas)
See also Cyprus Top 10 Exports and Top EU Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Europe: Cyprus. Accessed on April 4, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 4, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 4, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 4, 2021
Wikipedia, Cyprus. Accessed on April 4, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Cyprus. Accessed on April 4, 2021