Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, Greece uses the euro which appreciated by 2% against the US dollar since 2016 and rose by 3.1% from 2019 to 2020. The stronger EU currency in 2020 made Greece’s imports paid for in weaker US dollars in 2020 relatively less expensive when converted starting from euros.
Applying a continental lens, 62.7% of Greece’s total imports by value were purchased from fellow European countries. Asian trade partners supplied 24.7% of all import purchases by Greece. Smaller percentages came from Africa (3.7%), North America (2.2%), Latin America (1.3%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.1%) led by New Zealand and Australia.
Given Greece’s population of 10.7 million people, its total $55.5 billion in 2020 imported goods translates to roughly $5,200 in yearly product demand from every person in the southern European country.
Greece’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Greece’s import purchases during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Greece.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$11 billion (19.8% of total imports)
- Machinery including computers: $4.5 billion (8.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $3.8 billion (6.9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $3.5 billion (6.4%)
- Organic chemicals: $3.3 billion (5.9%)
- Vehicles: $2.6 billion (4.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $2.1 billion (3.9%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.3 billion (2.3%)
- Meat: $1.2 billion (2.2%)
- Iron, steel: $1.1 billion (2%)
Greece’s top 10 imports accounted for 62.1% of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Leading purchase increases from 2019 to 2020 were for organic chemicals (up 55.1%), pharmaceuticals (up 15%) then optical, technical and medical apparatus (up 13.3%).
The severest decline was a -34.1% dip year over year for the mineral fuels including oil category.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under the adjacent virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
In 2020, Greek importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.
- Crude oil: US$7 billion (down -33.4% from 2019)
- Processed petroleum oils: $2.7 billion (down -30.3%)
- Petroleum gases: $776.2 million (down -50.8%)
- Electrical energy: $398.6 million (down -28.9%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $45.1 million (down -30.1%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $36.4 million (down -32.9%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $22.9 million (down -22.1%)
- Peat: $9.5 million (up 19.1%)
- Tar pitch, coke: $8.9 million (down -9.5%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $4.6 million (up 4.8%)
Among these import subcategories, Greek purchases of peat (up 19.1%) then petroleum jelly and mineral waxes (up 4.8%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported mineral fuels energy among Greek businesses and consumers.
In 2020, Greek importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.
- Computers, optical readers: US$1 billion (up 6.1% from 2019)
- Air conditioners: $250.5 million (down -6.1%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $205 million (up 7%)
- Refrigerators, freezers: $188.4 million (down -9.4%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $175.1 million (down -7.6%)
- Printing machinery: $159.5 million (down -9.2%)
- Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines: $157.9 million (up 10.1%)
- Computer parts, accessories: $154.6 million (up 17%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $123 million (down -1.4%)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $118.3 million (up 3.2%)
Among these import subcategories, Greek purchases of computer parts or accessories (up 17%), dishwashing, cleaning, drying or filling machines (up 10.1%) then centrifuges, filters and purifiers (up 7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Greek businesses and consumers.
In 2020, Greek importers spent the most on the following subcategories of electronics.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$921.4 million (up 12.1% from 2019)
- Electric generating sets, converters: $264.4 million (down -21.1%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $260 million (down -6.5%)
- Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $259.6 million (up 192%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $229.5 million (up 26.7%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $194.1 million (up 6%)
- Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $179.2 million (down -11.5%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $133 million (down -0.7%)
- Unrecorded sound media: $121.2 million (up 8.8%)
- Electric motor parts: $112.7 million (down -0.8%)
Among these import subcategories, Greek purchases of solar power diodes and semi-conductors (up 192%), insulated wire or cable (up 26.7%) then phone system devices including smartphones (up 12.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2019 to 2020.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among Greek businesses and consumers.
In 2020, Greek importers spent the most on the following subcategories of pharmaceuticals.
- Medication mixes in dosage: US$2.4 billion (up 11.5% from 2019)
- Blood fractions (including antisera): $949.5 million (up 28.4%)
- Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods: $82.5 million (up 9.5%)
- Packaged dressings: $48.7 million (down -12.5%)
- Medication mixes not in dosage: $38.1 million (down -20.3%)
- Dried organs, heparin: $4.4 million (down -38.6%)
Among these import subcategories, Greek purchases of blood fractions including antisera (up 28.4%), medication mixes in dosage (up 11.5%) then sutures and special pharmaceutical goods (up 9.5%) grew from 2019 to 2020.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported pharmaceutical goods among Greek businesses and consumers.
See also Greece’s Top 10 Exports, Greece’s Top Trading Partners and Top EU Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Country Profiles. Accessed on March 3, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 3, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 3, 2021