That estimated dollar amount reflects an 11.8% increase from $514.4 million recorded 5 years earlier for 2018.
Year over year, overall Eritrean exports dropped by -14.3% compared to $491.5 million during 2021.
Eritrea is a tiny country located in East Africa, bordered by Sudan to its west, Ethiopia to its south and southwest and Djibouti to its southeast. Northeastern and eastern Eritrea shares a coastline with the Red Sea.
Eritrea’s top 2 most valuable export products are zinc ores or concentrates and copper ores or concentrates. Combined, those product categories represent 98.2% of overall exports from Eritrea by value. Such a high percentage indicates an intensely concentrated portfolio of products for Eritrea’s international shipments.
Given Eritrea’s population of 3.662 million people, its total $574.9 million in 2022 exports translates to roughly $160 for every resident in the East African country. That dollar metric outpaces the average $140 per capita one year earlier during 2021.
Eritrea’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Eritrean global shipments during 2022, at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Eritrea.
- Ores, slag, ash: US$564.3 million (98.2% of total exports)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $7.8 million (1.4%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $623,000 (0.1%)
- Machinery including computers: $576,000 (0.1%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $216,000 (0.04%)
- Other base metal goods: $186,000 (0.03%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $161,000 (0.03%)
- Vehicles: $129,000 (0.02%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $113,000 (0.02%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $87,000 (0.02%)
By value, Eritrea’s top 10 exports accounted for 99.9% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Miscellaneous products made from base metal represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up 18,500% from 2021 to 2022.
In second place for Eritrea’s improving export sales were items made from iron or steel via a 653.3% advance.
Eritrean exports of knitted or crocheted clothing and accessories posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 357.9% compared to 2021.
The decliners among the top 10 Eritrean export categories were machinery including computers (down -73.1% from 2021) and pharmaceuticals (down -48.1%).
At the more detailed 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, the major exports from Eritrea are zinc ores or concentrates (61.4% of Eritrea’s global total), copper ores or concentrates (36.7%), unknitted and non-crocheted women’s clothing (0.7%), then unknitted and non-crocheted men’s shirts (0.3%).
Products Driving Eritrea’s Best Trade Surpluses
Eritrea incurred an estimated $242.7 million trade surplus in 2022, down by -26.6% from $330.8 million in black ink one year earlier in 2021.
The following types of Eritrean 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.
- Ores, slag, ash: US$564.3 million (Up by 14.9% since 2021)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $7.4 million (Up by 190.8%)
- Fish: $52,000 (Down by -50.5%)
- Fruits, nuts: $29,000 (Reversing a -$98,000 deficit)
- Gems, precious metals: $6,000 (Down by -100%)
- Collector items, art, antiques: $5,000 (Down by -88.6%)
- Musical instruments: $2,000 (Reversing a -$30,000 deficit)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $2,000 (2021 data unavailable)
Eritrea has highly positive net exports in the international trade of copper and zinc ores and concentrates. In turn, these cashflows indicate Eritrea’s strong competitive advantages under the ores, slag and ash product category.
Products Causing Eritrea’s Worst Trade Deficits
Below are exports from Eritrea that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Eritrea’s goods trail Eritrean importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -$57.3 million (Up by 8.3%)
- Ships, boats: -$29.3 million (2021 data unavailable)
- Cereals: -$28.3 million (Down by -24.3%)
- Milling products, malt, starches: -$25.8 million (Up by 49.7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$23 million (Up by 24.9%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$18.4 million (Up by 43.5%)
- Vehicles : -$14.9 million (Down by -27.8%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: -$13.4 million (Up by 3.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$13.3 million (Down by -13.6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$11.9 million (Up by 35.5%)
Eritrea has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the product category titled machinery including computers.
Eritrean Export Companies
Not one Eritrean corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia does list exporters from Eritrea. Selected examples are shown below.
- Asmara Brewery (lager/stout beer)
- Golden Star Brewery (beer)
- Nakfa Corporation (corrugated boxes, sodium silicate)
- Red Sea Trading Corporation (international trade services)
In macroeconomic terms, Eritrea’s total exported goods represent an estimated 7.5% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($7.637 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 7.5% for exports to overall GDP per PPP in 2022 reflects an increase from 7.2% in 2021, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Eritrea’s unemployment rate averaged 6.6% for 2022, down from an average 6.8% in 2021 according to data from Trading Economics.
Eritrea’s capital city is Asmara.
See also Eritrea’s Top 10 Imports, Top African Export Countries, Nigeria’s Top 10 Exports and Finding the Best International Trade Stocks
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on September 20, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 20, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on September 20, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 20, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 20, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Eritrea. Accessed on September 20, 2023