That dollar amount reflects a 54% increase since 2017 when Egyptian exports totaled $26.4 billion.
Year over year, the value of Egypt’s overall exports accelerated by 51.8% from $26.8 billion during 2020.
At the detailed 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Egypt’s 5 top exported products ranked by value are processed petroleum oils, petroleum gases, crude oil, nitrogenous fertilizers, then gold. Collectively, that cohort of 5 major exports represents almost two-fifths (37.4%) of the overall value of Egyptian shipments in 2021.
Egypt’s Major International Trade Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 54.8% of products exported from Egypt were bought by importers in: Turkey (6.9% of the global total), Italy (6.8%), India (6.1%), United States of America (5.7%), Saudi Arabia (5.2%), Spain (4.4%), Malta (4.3%), Greece (3.7%), mainland China (3.4%), United Arab Emirates (3.1%), United Kingdom (2.8%) and France (2.4%).
From a continental perspective, 42% of Egypt’s exports by value was delivered to Asian countries while 37.7% was sold to importers in Europe. Egypt shipped another 12.8% worth of goods to trade partners in North America.
Smaller percentages went to Latin America (3.3%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, fellow African nations (2.4%), then Oceania (1.9%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Egypt’s population of 100.9 million people, its total $40.7 billion in 2021 exports translates to about $400 for every resident in the transcontinental nation. That dollar metric eclipses the average $270 per capita one year earlier in 2020.
Egypt’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Egyptian global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Egypt.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$13.2 billion (32.3% of total exports)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $2.7 billion (6.6%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $2.4 billion (5.8%)
- Iron, steel: $1.72 billion (4.2%)
- Fruits, nuts: $1.66 billion (4.1%)
- Fertilizers: $1.5 billion (3.6%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $1.3 billion (3.1%)
- Gems, precious metals: $1.2 billion (2.8%)
- Vegetables: $1.1 billion (2.6%)
- Aluminum: $780.4 million (1.9%)
Egypt’s top 10 exports accounted for roughly two-thirds (67.2%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 178.7% from 2020 to 2021. The most powerful gains were for Egyptian shipments of petroleum gases, crude oil and processed petroleum oils.
In second place for improving export sales was iron and steel as materials, via a 147.5% boost.
Egypt’s shipments of both plastics as materials and items made from plastic articles posted the third-fastest rise in value thanks to a 54% expansion.
The sole decliner among Egypt’s top 10 export categories was gems precious metals, thanks to a -61% drop. The biggest loser year over year was exported gold.
From the more granular 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, processed petroleum oils is the top export (14.8% of all Egyptian exported goods) during 2021. Close behind in second place were petroleum gases (9.9%) trailed by crude oil (7.2%), nitrogenous fertilizers (2.8%), unwrought gold (2.7%), television receivers, monitors and projectors (also 2.7%), hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (2.5%), fresh or dried miscellaneous citrus fruit (2.1%), insulated wire or cable (1.9%) and unknitted and non-crocheted men’s suits and trousers (1.4%).
Countries Generating Egypt’s Biggest Trade Surpluses
The following types of Egyptian 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.
- Mineral fuels including oil: $2.8 billion (Reversing a -$2.3 billion deficit)
- Fertilizers: $1.3 billion (Up by 32.1% since 2020)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $1.1 billion (Up by 51.9%)
- Fruits, nuts: $1 billion (Up by 12.9%)
- Vegetables: $579.1 million (Down by -1.8%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $528.5 million (Up by 73.1%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $475 million (Up by 49.8%)
- Glass: $441.6 million (Up by 50.2%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $365.3 million (Up by 25.4%)
- Textile floor coverings: $352 million (Up by 19.3%)
Egypt has highly positive net exports in the international trade of gold refined petroleum oils and petroleum gases. In turn, these cashflows indicate Egypt’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels related product category.
Countries Causing Egypt’s Worst Trade Deficits
Egypt incurred an overall -$33.1 billion product trade deficit for 2021, down by -1.2% from the -$33.5 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Egypt that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Egypt’s goods trail Egyptian importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$5.8 billion (Up by 14.5% since 2020)
- Cereals: -$4.9 billion (Up by 6.7%)
- Vehicles: -$4.9 billion (Up by 8.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$3.3 billion (Up by 62.9%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$2.5 billion (Up by 3.5%)
- Oil seeds: -$2.1 billion (Up by 28.6%)
- Iron, steel: -$1.8 billion (Down by -7.7%)
- Organic chemicals: -$1.6 billion (Up by 12.7%)
- Wood: -$1.4 billion (Up by 25.5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.4 billion (Up by 14.4%)
Egypt has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers product category.
Egyptian Export Companies
One Egyptian regional bank ranks among Forbes Global 2000 for 2017, namely Cairo-based Commercial International Bank.
Wikipedia lists some exports-related companies from Egypt. Selected examples are shown below.
- ABU QIR Fertilizers and Chemicals Industries (nitrogen fertilizers)
- Al-Mansour Automotive (automobiles)
- Arab American Vehicles (automobiles)
- Arab Contractors (construction materials)
- BiscoMisr (baked products)
- Challenger Ltd (oil, gas)
- Corona (confectionery, chocolate)
- Egyptian Natural Gas (oil, gas)
- Egy-Tech Engineering (automobiles)
- Juhayna (beverages, yogurt)
In macroeconomic terms, Egypt’s total exported goods represent 2.9% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($1.388 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 2.9% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 2% for 2020. Those metrics suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Egypt’s total economic performance, albeit based on a relatively short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Egypt’s average unemployment rate averaged 7.292% for 2021, down from an average 8.296% one year earlier in 2020 according to data from the International Monetary Fund.
Egypt’s capital city is Cairo.
See also Egypt’s Top 10 Imports, Uganda’s Top 10 Exports, Somalia’s Top 10 Exports, Turkey’s Top Trading Partners and India’s Top Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook report on South Asia: Sri Lanka. Accessed on June 17, 2022
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Egypt. Accessed on June 17, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 17, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity)
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 17, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 17, 2022
United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade . Accessed on June 17, 2022
Wikipedia, Egypt. Accessed on June 17, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 17, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Egypt. Accessed on June 17, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 17, 2022
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Cairo, Egypt. Accessed on June 17, 2022