Ecuador’s official currency is US dollars.
From a continental perspective, 30.2% of Ecuador’s total imports by value in 2019 were purchased from Asian countries. Another 27.7% worth of imported goods originated from fellow Latin American nations excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean. Close behind were suppliers in North America (26.6%) then providers from Europe (14.5%). Smaller percentages came from Africa (0.2%) and Oceania (also 0.2%) led by Australia.
Given Ecuador’s population of 17.3 million people, its total $20.3 billion in 2019 imports translates to roughly $1,200 in yearly product demand from every person in the northwestern South American nation.
Ecuador’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Ecuador’s import purchases during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Ecuador.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$4.4 billion (21.6% of total imports)
- Machinery including computers: $2.2 billion (10.7%)
- Vehicles: $1.4 billion (7.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $1.3 billion (6.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $1 billion (4.9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $969.4 million (4.8%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $824.6 million (4.1%)
- Iron, steel: $678.9 million (3.3%)
- Other chemical goods: $495.7 million (2.4%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $418.2 million (2.1%)
Ecuador’s top 10 imports accounted for roughly two-thirds (67.3%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Articles made from iron or steel was the only top category to increase in terms of Ecuador’s import purchases from 2018 to 2019.
Leading the decliners year over year were imports of vehicles (down -37.7%) and electrical machinery and equipment (down -32.7%).
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
At the detailed 4-digit code level, Ecuador’s costliest imported goods are refined petroleum oils (11.4% of the global total), high-temperature distilled coal tar oils (8.1%), medicines (3.5%), cars (3.2%), soya-bean oilcake (2.2%), petroleum gases (1.9%), mobile phones (1.8%), wheat (1.6%) then trucks (1.5%).
In 2019, Ecuadorian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Processed petroleum oils: US$2.3 billion (down -1.7% from 2018)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $1.6 billion (up 4.8%)
- Petroleum gases: $385.6 million (down -27.9%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $22.8 million (down -29.7%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $10.1 million (down -10.1%)
- Peat: $2.5 million (up 15.1%)
- Electrical energy: $2.4 million (down -19.8%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $1.8 million (down -68.5%)
- Crude oil: $1 million (down -97%)
- Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $576,000 (up 160.6%)
Among these import subcategories, Ecuadorian purchases of asphalt or petroleum bitumen mixes (up 160.6%), peat (up 15.1%) then high temperature distilled coal tar oils (up 4.8%) grew from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported mineral fuels-related products among Ecuadorian businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Ecuadorian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machines including computers.
- Computers, optical readers: US$186.5 million (down -22.3% from 2018)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $132.8 million (down -18.6%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $122.1 million (down -10.7%)
- Refrigerators, freezers: $114 million (down -22.2%)
- Printing machinery: $105 million (down -27.3%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $85.7 million (down -14.4%)
- Piston engine parts: $82.6 million (down -12.9%)
- Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $80.3 million (down -41.6%)
- Lifting/loading machinery: $77.7 million (up 188.3%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $71.7 million (down -24.2%)
Among these import subcategories, Ecuadorian purchases of lifting and loading machinery (up 188.3%) was the lone category to increase from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Ecuadorian businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Ecuadorian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.
- Cars: US$652.1 million (down -42.3% from 2018)
- Trucks: $309.9 million (down -34.9%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $171.4 million (down -37.5%)
- Motorcycles: $75.8 million (down -29.8%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $75.3 million (down -0.9%)
- Tractors: $63.8 million (down -35.2%)
- Chassis fitted with engine: $41.8 million (down -37.5%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $16.2 million (down -33.1%)
- Special purpose vehicles: $11.4 million (down -50.9%)
- Trailers: $9.9 million (down -24.4%)
None among these top import subcategories increased from 2018 to 2019. Leading the declines year over year were special purpose vehicles (down -50.9%) and cars (down -42.3%).
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among Ecuadorian businesses and consumers.
In 2019, Ecuadorian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronic equipment including consumer electronics.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$359.2 million (down -25.7% from 2018)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $121.9 million (down -56.7%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $106.9 million (down -22%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $64.6 million (down -30.9%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $60.5 million (down -25.6%)
- Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $49.8 million (up 17.5%)
- Electric generating sets, converters: $43.1 million (up 0.5%)
- Unrecorded sound media: $42.4 million (down -19%)
- Electric motors, generators: $35.3 million (down -38%)
- Microphones/headphones/amps: $34.8 million (down -37.4%)
Among these import subcategories, Ecuadorian purchases of electrical or optical circuit boards and panels (up 17.5%) and electric generating sets or converters (up 0.5%) grew from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among Ecuadorian businesses and consumers.
See also Ecuador’s Top 10 Exports, Ecuador’s Top 10 Imports and Ecuador’s Top Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook South America: Ecuador. Accessed on March 30, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 30, 2020
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on March 30, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 30, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 30, 2020
Wikipedia, Ecuador. Accessed on March 30, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Ecuador. Accessed on March 30, 2020