That estimated dollar amount reflects a 13.5% increase from $48.3 billion during 2017.
Year over year, the overall value of Kazakhstani exports rose 16.8% from $46.9 billion for 2020.
Kazakhstan is the world’s largest landlocked country. A Central Asian nation, Kazakhstan shares its southern border with Russia.
The top 3 most valuable exports from Kazakhstan are crude oil, unwrought gold and refined copper plus unwrought alloys. Add together, that trio of major Kazakhstani products represent over half (54%) of the country’s overall export sales in 2021.
Kazakhstan’s Most Valuable Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 79.3% of products exported from Kazakhstan were bought by importers in: mainland China (19.2% of the Kazakhstani global total), Italy (14.2%), Russia (10.4%), Netherlands (6.7%), Uzbekistan (4.5%), Turkey (also 4.5%), India (4.2%), France (4%), Switzerland (3.2%), Greece (3%), Romania (2.7%) and Spain (2.6%).
From a continental perspective, 53.9% of Kazakhstan exports by value were delivered to European countries while 43.8% were sold to Asian importers. Kazakhstan shipped another 1.7% worth of goods to North America.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (0.3%), Latin America (0.2%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean then Oceania mostly Australia (0.03%).
Given Kazakhstan’s population of 19.1 million people, its total $54.8 billion in 2021 exports translates to an estimated $2,900 for every resident in the Central Asian republic. That dollar metric outpaces the average $2,500 per capita one year earlier during 2020.
Kazakhstan’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Kazakhstani global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Kazakhstan.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$24.8 billion (45.3% of total exports)
- Gems, precious metals: $5.3 billion (9.7%)
- Iron, steel: $5.2 billion (9.5%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $4.8 billion (8.8%)
- Copper: $3.7 billion (6.8%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $2.3 billion (4.2%)
- Cereals: $1.3 billion (2.3%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $851.5 million (1.6%)
- Zinc: $800.9 million (1.5%)
- Aluminum: $664.5 million (1.2%)
Kazakhstan’s top 10 exports accounted for 90.8% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Gems and precious metals was the fastest grower among the top 10 Kazakhstani export categories, up by 661% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place for improving export sales was salt, sulphur, stone and cement via an 86.5% advance.
Kazakhstan’s shipments of iron and steel metals posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 64.8%.
The leading decliner among Kazakhstan’s top 10 export categories was mineral fuels including oil thanks to a -9.2% annual drop. That product category was weighed down by lower revenues from Kazakhstani export sales of petroleum gases and, to a lesser extent, crude oil.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Kazakhstan’s most valuable export product is crude oil (40.2% of the country’s total). In second place was Kazakhstan’s exported unwrought gold (7.2%), refined copper plus unwrought alloys (6.6%), iron ferroalloys (4.9%), copper ores (3.6%), iron ores and concentrates (3.2%), radioactive chemical elements (2.6%), wheat (2%), unwrought silver (also 2%), then coal including solid fuels made from coal (1.7%).
Products Generating Kazakhstan’s Largest Trade Surpluses
Overall, Kazakhstan achieved a $7.7 billion trade surplus for 2021 down by -13.6% compared to $8.9 billion in black ink one year earlier.
The following types of Kazakhstani 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: US$23.5 billion (Down by -9.7% since 2020)
- Gems, precious metals: $4.8 billion (Up by 1506.3%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $3.8 billion (Up by 51.5%)
- Copper: $3.6 billion (Up by 32.7%)
- Iron, steel: $3.3 billion (Up by 50.2%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $1.9 billion (Down by -1.6%)
- Cereals: $886.1 million (Down by -29.2%)
- Zinc: $799.1 million (Up by 31%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $729.5 million (Up by 104%)
- Oil seeds: $301.7 million (Up by 22.7%)
Kazakhstan has highly positive net exports in the international trade of mineral fuels, particularly crude oil and petroleum gases. In turn, these cashflows indicate Kazakhstan’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels including oil product category.
Products Causing Kazakhstan’s Worst Trade Deficits
Below are exports from Kazakhstan that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Kazakhstan’s goods trail Kazakhstani importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$6.1 billion (Down by -32.7% since 2020)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$3.9 billion (Up by 21.8%)
- Vehicles: -$3.2 billion (Up by 51%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$2 billion (Up by 525.3%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.8 billion (Up by 54.6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$1.7 billion (Up by 11.9%)
- Footwear: -$1.43 billion (Up by 322.3%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$1.37 billion (Down by -35%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$1.35 billion (Up by 346%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$1 billion (Down by -1.3%)
Kazakhstan has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery-related products, notably taps and valves, air or vacuum pumps subcategory and computers.
Kazakhstani Export Companies
According to Forbes Global 2000 rankings, the following companies are examples of leading Kazakhstani companies.
- Bta Bank (Regional bank)
- Halyk Bank (Regional bank)
- KazMunaiGas Exploration (Oil and gas operations)
Wikipedia also lists exporters from Kazakhstan. Selected examples are shown below:
- Bogatyr Access Komir (Coal mining)
- KazakhGold (Gold mining)
- Kazatomprom (Uranium, rare earth metals)
- KazTransOil (Oil transportation)
In macroeconomic terms, Kazakhstan’s total exported goods represent 10.1% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($542.9 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 10.1% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 9.4% one year earlier. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Kazakhstan’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Kazakhstan’s unemployment rate averaged 4.875% for 2021, down from an average 4.925% one year earlier in 2020 according to the International Monetary Fund.
Astana is Kazakhstan’s capital city.
See also China’s Top Trading Partners, Italy’s Top Trading Partners, Russia’s Top Trading Partners, Netherlands Top Trading Partners, Turkey’s Top Trading Partners and xxx’s Top Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, Country Profiles, The World Factbook. Accessed on August 1, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on August 1, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on August 1, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on August 1, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on August 1, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on August 1, 2022
Wikipedia, Kazakhstan. Accessed on August 1, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Kazakhstan. Accessed on August 1, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on August 1, 2022
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Astana, Kazakhstan. Accessed on August 1, 2022