That dollar amount reflects a 15.4% increase since 2016 but a flatlining -1.4% drop from 2019 to 2020.
Montenegro’s 5 biggest exports (unwrought aluminum, electrical energy, medication mixes, sawn wood, aluminum ores or concentrates) generated almost half (47.5%) of the country’s overall shipments by value during 2020. That percentage indicates a relatively concentrated portfolio of exported products.
Montenegro’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 80.8% of products exported from Montenegro were bought by importers in: Serbia (28.3% of the global total), Slovenia (10%), Hungary (6.3%), Bosnia/Herzegovina (6.2%), China (also 6.2%), Germany (4.8%), Turkey (3.8%), Albania (3.6%), Poland (3.3%), Czech Republic (3.2%), Italy (2.8%) and Switzerland (2.2%).
From a continental perspective, 85.5% of Montenegro’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 12.2% were sold to importers in Asia.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (1.3%), North America (0.7%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.2%), and Oceania (0.03%) mainly Australia.
Given Montenegro’s population of 623,000 people, its total $409.8 million in 2020 exports translates to roughly $660 for every resident in the Southeastern European country.
Montenegro’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Montenegrin global shipments during 2020 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 Montenegro.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$68.2 million (16.6% of total exports)
- Aluminum: $67.4 million (16.4%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $37.6 million (9.2%)
- Wood: $36 million (8.8%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $27.6 million (6.7%)
- Iron, steel: $22.9 million (5.6%)
- Machinery including computers: $20.6 million (5%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $17.4 million (4.2%)
- Vehicles: $13.8 million (3.4%)
- Meat: $11.2 million (2.7%)
Montenegro’s top 10 exports accounted for 78.7% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Pharmaceuticals represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 21.9% from 2019 to 2020.
In second place for improving export sales was meat via a 20.7% gain.
Montenegro’s shipments of ores, slag and ash posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 18.7%.
The leading decliner among Montenegro’s top 10 export categories was mineral fuels including oil, thanks to its -24.4% drop year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, unwrought aluminum represents Montenegro’s most valuable exported product at 15.7% of the country’s total. In second place were electrical energy (13.9%) trailed by medication mixes in dosage (6.7%), sawn wood (5.8%), aluminum ores and concentrates (5.4%), wine (3.1%), zinc ores and concentrates (2.9%), salted, dried or smoked meat (2.6%), fuel wood, wood chips and sawdust (2.5%), and iron or steel scrap (2%).
The following types of Montenegrin 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.
- Aluminum: US$37.8 million (Up by 10.3% since 2019)
- Ores, slag, ash: $37.6 million (Up by 18.7%)
- Gems, precious metals: $3.3 million (Reversing a -$7.3 million deficit)
- Copper: $2.5 million (Down by -0.4%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $1.7 million (Down by -26%)
- Woodpulp: $825,000 (Down by -25.5%)
- Wood: $266,000 (Reversing a -$4.4 million deficit)
- Lead: $12,000 (Down by -84.4%)
- Tin: -$5,000 (Down by -75%)
- Wool: -$31,000 (Down by -26.2%)
Montenegro has highly positive net exports in the international trade of aluminum. In turn, these cashflows indicate Montenegro’s strong competitive advantages under the ores, slag and ash category for aluminum ores and concentrates as well as under the aluminum product category.
Montenegro incurred an overall -$1.98 billion products-related trade deficit for 2020, down by -9.2% from -$2.19 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Montenegro that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Montenegro’s goods trail Montenegrin importer spending on foreign products.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -US$195.7 million (Up by 17.3% since 2019)
- Machinery including computers: -$180.3 million (Down by -5.5%)
- Vehicles: -$136.6 million (Down by -22.7%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$122.4 million (Down by -36.9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$100.7 million (Up by 25.1%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$87.1 million (Down by -10.1%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$76.9 million (Down by -17.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$73.6 million (Down by -5.2%)
- Meat: -$69.2 million (Down by -14.6%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: -$47.7 million (Up by 2.1%)
Montenegro has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the electrical machinery and equipment category.
Montenegrin Export Companies
Not one Montenegrin corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Montenegro. Selected examples are shown below.
- Crnogorski Telekom (telecommunications)
- Jugopetrol Kotor (oil, gas)
- Plantaže (wine, grape brandy)
- Rudnici boksita a.d. Niksic (bauxite)
- Trebjesa brewery (beer)
In macroeconomic terms, Montenegro’s total exported goods represent 3.4% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($12 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 3.4% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 3.2% for 2019. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Montenegro’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Montenegro’s unemployment rate was 20.48% at December 2020, up from 16.21% at December 2019 according to Trading Economics.
Montenegro’s capital city is Podgorica.
See also France’s Top 10 Exports, Italy’s Top 10 Exports and Top EU Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Europe: Montenegro. Accessed on September 18, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 18, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity)
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 18, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 18, 2021
Wikipedia, Flag of Montenegro. Accessed on September 18, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on September 18, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Montenegro. Accessed on September 18, 2021
Wikipedia, Montenegro. Accessed on September 18, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on September 18, 2021
WorldOMeter, Montenegro Population. Accessed on September 18, 2021