That dollar total reflects a 37.6% advance from $19.1 billion in 2017 and a 29.9% year-over-year acceleration from $20.2 billion during 2020.
Ecuador’s official currency is US dollars.
The 5 most valuable products exported from Ecuador are crude oil, crustaceans including lobsters, bananas plus plantains, refined petroleum oils, and preserved or prepared fish and caviar. Collectively, those 5 top goods represent 71.2% of Ecuador’s total exports by value.
Ecuador’s Key Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that more than three-quarters (78.5%) of products exported from Ecuador were bought by importers in: United States of America (24.4% of the global total), Panama (15.1%), mainland China (13.9%), Chile (4.3%), Russia (3.8%), Colombia (3.2%), Spain (2.8%), Netherlands (2.6%), India (2.5%), Peru (2.4%), Italy (2.1%) and France (1.5%).
From a continental perspective, 28.1% of Ecuador’s exports by value were delivered to importers also in Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Another 25.8% was sold to customers in North America, with 23.5% worth of goods going to Asia and 21.1% arriving in Europe.
Tinier percentages were imported by Africa (1.3%) and Oceania (0.2%) led by New Zealand and Australia.
Ecuador’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Ecuadorian global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Ecuador.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$8.6 billion (32.8% of total exports)
- Fish: $5.7 billion (21.8%)
- Fruits, nuts: $3.7 billion (14.2%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $1.3 billion (5%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $1.1 billion (4.1%)
- Live trees, plants, cut flowers: $964.6 million (3.7%)
- Cocoa: $940 million (3.6%)
- Gems, precious metals: $597.1 million (2.3%)
- Wood: $569.1 million (2.2%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $266.5 million (1%)
Ecuador’s top 10 exports accounted for 90.7% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Ores, slag and ash was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 100.7% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place for improving export sales was mineral fuels including oil via a 62.5% upsurge caused mostly by Ecuadorian petroleum oils (both crude and refined).
Ecuador’s shipments of gems and precious metals posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 48.6%. That gain was due mainly to higher international sales of gold.
The leading decliner among Ecuador’s top 10 export categories was wood thanks to its -30.8% annual drop.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Ecuador’s most valuable exported products in 2021 is crude oil (27.7% of its overall total). In second place was lobsters including other crustaceans (20.3%) trailed by bananas and plantains (13.3%), refined petroleum oils (5%), preserved or prepared fish and caviar (4.8%), fresh or dried flowers (3.5%), cocoa beans (3.1%), precious metal ores and concentrates (2.3%), gold (2.2%) then copper ores and concentrates (1.9%).
Products Generating Ecuador’s Largest Trade Surpluses
Overall Ecuador posted a $549.3 million trade surplus for 2021, shriveling by -77.3% compared to $2.4 billion in black ink one year earlier in 2020.
The following types of Ecuadorian 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.
- Fish: US$5.6 billion (Up by 37.1% since 2020)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $3.7 billion (Up by 50.1%)
- Fruits, nuts: $3.6 billion (Down by -3.7%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $1.3 billion (Up by 10.1%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $1.1 billion (Up by 100.6%)
- Live trees, plants, cut flowers: $932.6 million (Up by 13.2%)
- Cocoa: $892.2 million (Down by -0.7%)
- Gems, precious metals: $579.3 million (Up by 48.5%)
- Wood: $507.7 million (Down by -34.9%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $204.3 million (Up by 6.9%)
In addition to fish, fruits and nuts, Ecuador has highly positive net exports in the international trade of crude oil and, to a much lesser extent, electricity under the mineral fuels-related category.
Products Causing Ecuador’s Worst Trade Deficits
Below are exports from Ecuador that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Ecuador’s goods trail Ecuadorian importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$2.5 billion (Up by 26.8% since 2020)
- Vehicles: -$2 billion (Up by 59.5%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$1.8 billion (Up by 25%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$1.4 billion (Up by 41.1%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.2 billion (Up by 62.6%)
- Iron, steel: -$1.1 billion (Up by 121.3%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$981.7 million (Up by 49.9%)
- Other chemical goods: -$567.6 million (Up by 15.4%)
- Cereals: -$562 million (Up by 62.5%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$521.8 million (Up by 24.1%)
Ecuador has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery, particularly for computers.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Ecuador’s competitive disadvantages in the international machinery market, but also represent key opportunities for Ecuador to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.
Ecuadorian Export Companies
Not one Ecuadorian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia does list some exporters from Ecuador. Selected examples are shown below.
- Corporación Nacional de Telecomunicaciones–CNT EP (telecommunications)
- Marathon Sports (sport equipment)
- Ecua-Andino Hats (panama hats)
- Tiendas Industriales Asociadas S.A.–Tía S.A. (discount retailer)
- TAME EP Linea Aerea del Ecuador (airliner)
- Zhumir Latin Spirit (liquor)
In macroeconomic terms, Ecuador’s total exported goods represent 12.6% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($208.6 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 12.6% of exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 10.1% for 2020. Those percentages suggest a increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Ecuador’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Ecuador’s unemployment rate averaged 4.15% for 2021, down from an average 5.346% in 2020 according to statistics from the International Monetary Fund.
Ecuador’s capital city is Quito.
See also Ecuador’s Top Trading Partners, Ecuador’s Top 10 Imports, Colombia’s Top Trading Partners, Chile’s Top Trading Partners and Argentina’s Top Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook South America: Ecuador. Accessed on July 5, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on July 5, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 5, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 5, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on July 5, 2022
Wikipedia, Ecuador. Accessed on July 5, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 5, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Ecuador. Accessed on July 5, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 5, 2022