That estimated dollar amount reflects a -54.8% drop from $1.9 billion five years earlier in 2018.
Year over year, revenues from Jamaican export sales shrank by -32.1% compared to $1.44 billion for 2021.
Based on average exchange rates, the Jamaican dollar depreciated by -19.1% against the US dollar since 2018 and fell by -1.8% from 2021 to 2022. Jamaica’s weaker local currency made Jamaican exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
The top 5 goods by value exported from Jamaica in 2022 were processed petroleum oils, alcoholic beverages including spirits and liqueurs, aluminum ores and concentrates, aluminum oxide or hydroxide, then a subgroup of yams, sweet potatoes and artichokes. Combined, Jamaica’s quintet of most valuable exported products accounted for 45% of the Caribbean island’s overall export tally.
Jamaica’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 85.9% of products exported from Jamaica were bought by importers in: United States of America (50.7% of the Jamaican total), Netherlands (10.2%), Canada (6.8%), United Kingdom (4.4%), Russia (3.1%), Iceland (2%), Switzerland (1.9%), France (1.45%), Cayman Islands (1.44%), Barbados (1.38%), Trinidad and Tobago (1.37%) and Ghana (1.1%).
From a continental perspective, 58.7% of Jamaica’s exports by value were delivered to buyers in North American countries while 24.6% were sold to importers in Europe. Jamaica shipped another 11.7% worth of goods to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Smaller percentages went to customers in Asia (3.4%), Africa (1.1%), and Oceania (0.5%) led by New Zealand and Australia.
Given Jamaica’s population of 2.74 million people, its total $849.3 million in 2021 exports translates to roughly $310 for every resident in the West Indian Island. That dollar amount falls below the average $450 per capita one year earlier during 2021.
Jamaica’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level represent the highest dollar value in Jamaican global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Jamaica.
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: US$186.1 million (21.9% of total exports)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $122.1 million (14.4%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $79.1 million (9.3%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $58.1 million (6.8%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: $48.3 million (5.7%)
- Vegetables: $47.8 million (5.6%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $37.3 million (4.4%)
- Coffee, tea, spices: $34.7 million (4.1%)
- Cereal/milk preparations: $30.6 million (3.6%)
- Iron, steel: $23.6 million (2.8%)
Jamaica’s top 10 exports accounted for 78.6% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Iron and steel was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 279.3% from 2021 to 2022.
In second place for improving export sales was the beverages, spirits and vinegar category via a 45.2% advance.
Jamaica’s shipments of coffee, tea and spices posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 23.4%.
The leading decliner among Jamaica’s top 10 export categories was inorganic chemicals, dragged down by an -86.8% year-over-year drop.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Jamaica’s most valuable exported products were processed petroleum oils (12.4% of Jamaican total), alcoholic beverages including spirits and liqueurs (11.4%), aluminum ores and concentrates (9.3%), aluminum oxide or hydroxide (6.7%), a subgroup of yams, sweet potatoes and artichokes (5.2%), sauces, mixed condiments and seasonings (3.4%), bread, biscuits, cakes and pastries (3.3%), malt beer (3.2%), coffee (3%) then non-alcoholic drinks (2.8%) excluding water, juices or milk.
Products Generating Jamaica’s Largest Trade Surpluses
The following types of Jamaican 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$79 million (Up by 10.3% since 2021)
- Coffee, tea, spices: $25.6 million (Up by 25.4%)
- Vegetables: $24.9 million (Up by 11.6%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $16.4 million (Down by -40.6%)
- Copper: $7.7 million (Reversing a -$6.7 million deficit)
- Woodpulp: $1.6 million (Up by 402.6%)
- Fruits, nuts: $566,000 (Reversing an -$893,000 deficit)
- Wool: $6,000 (Reversing a -$36,000 deficit)
Jamaica generated highly positive net exports in the international trade of aluminum ores and concentrates. In turn, these cashflows indicate Jamaica’s strong competitive advantages under the ores, slag and ash product category.
Products Generating Jamaica’s Worst Trade Deficits
Jamaica incurred an overall -US$6 billion trade deficit for 2022, expanding by 32.6% from -$4.5 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2021.
Below are exports from Jamaica that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Jamaica’s goods trail Jamaican importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$1.3 billion (Up by 23.3% since 2021)
- Vehicles: -$491.5 million (Up by 15.9%)
- Machinery including computers: -$482.1 million (Up by 12.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$305.3 million (Up by 9.1%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$303 million (Up by 33.7%)
- Cereals: -$234.5 million (Up by 17%)
- Iron, steel: -$159.2 million (Down by -14.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$152 million (Down by -11.2%)
- Paper, paper items: -$146.4 million (Up by 27.1%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$139.1 million (Up by 28.7%)
Jamaica incurred highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil category. Notable deficits are for both refined and crude petroleum oils and, to a lesser extent, petroleum gases, coke and coal.
Jamaican Export Companies
No Jamaican-based corporation ranks among the Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia does list exports-related companies from Jamaica. Selected examples are shown below.
- Alpart (aluminum)
- Desnoes & Geddes (brewery)
- J. Wray and Nephew Ltd (alcoholic beverages)
- Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (oil, gas)
- Port Authority of Jamaica (ports/shipping)
In macroeconomic terms, Jamaica’s total exported goods represent 2.5% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($33.4 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 2.5% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 4.5% for 2021. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Jamaica’s total economic performance, albeit based on a relatively short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Jamaica’s unemployment rate was 6.6% at July 2022, down from 8.5% one year earlier according to Trading Economics.
Jamaica’s capital city is Kingston.
See also Bermuda’s Top 10 Exports, Cuba’s Top 10 Exports, Dominican Republic’s Top 10 Exports, Wine Exports by Country and Beer Exports by Country
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on August 6, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 6, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 6, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 6, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 6, 2023
The World Bank, Official Exchange Rate (LCU per US$, period average) – Jamaica. Accessed on August 6, 2023
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on August 6, 2023
Wikipedia, Jamaica. Accessed on August 6, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Jamaica. Accessed on August 6, 2023
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on August 6, 2023