The latest available country-specific data from 2018 shows that 78% of products exported from Montenegro were bought by importers in: Serbia (23.6% of the global total), Hungary (11.7%), Bosnia/Herzegovina (7.8%), Slovenia (7.1%), Poland (4.5%), Czech Republic (4.4%), China (3.6%), Italy (3.5%), Germany (3.3%), Albania (3.3%), Turkey (also 3.3%) and the United Kingdom (1.8%).
From a continental perspective, 90.1% of Montenegro’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 8.4% were sold to importers in Asia. Montenegro shipped another 0.3% worth of goods to Africa. Smaller percentages went to Africa (0.3%), North America (0.2%), Oceania’s Australia only (also 0.2%) and Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.01%).
Given Montenegro’s population of 627,987 people, its total $405 million in 2019 exports translates to roughly $650 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 2019 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.
- Aluminum: US$82.2 million (20.3% of total exports)
- Ores, slag, ash: $62.9 million (15.5%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $37.4 million (9.2%)
- Iron, steel: $27.8 million (6.9%)
- Vehicles: $26.1 million (6.4%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $18.1 million (4.5%)
- Machinery including computers: $17.4 million (4.3%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $13.9 million (3.4%)
- Wood: $13 million (3.2%)
- Copper: $10.8 million (2.7%)
Montenegro’s top 10 exports accounted for 76.5% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Vehicles represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 123.7% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was copper via a 78.2% gain. Montenegro’s shipments of ores, slag and ash posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 77.1% powered by higher international revenues from exported aluminum ores and concentrates.
Year over year, the leading decliner among Montenegro’s top 10 export categories was mineral fuels including oil thanks to a -85.7%.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, unwrought aluminum represents Montenegro’s most valuable exported product at 18.9% of the country’s total. In second place were aluminum ores and concentrates (10.6%) trailed by medication mixes in dosage (9.2%), cars (5.7%), zinc ores and concentrates (3.8%) and wine (3.5%).
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.
- Ores, slag, ash: US$23.1 million (Down by -34.9% since 2018)
- Aluminum: $16.7 million (Down by -70.1%)
- Copper: $7.3 million (Up by 236.5%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $2.7 million (Down by -27.6%)
- Woodpulp: $1.5 million (Down by -3.7%)
- Collector items, art, antiques: $586,000 (Reversing a -$447,000 deficit)
- Lead: $102,000 (Down by -32.9%)
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.
Overall Montenegro incurred a -$2.55 billion product trade deficit for 2019, up by 0.7% from -$2.54 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.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US-$264.8 million (Up by 17.5% since 2018)
- Vehicles: -$204.8 million (Down by -4.4%)
- Machinery including computers: -$194.3 million (Down by -5.7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$172.8 million (Down by -33.1%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$105.3 million (Up by 14.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$100.9 million (Down by -11.5%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$98.7 million (Up by 8.1%)
- Meat: -$84.6 million (Down by -7.9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$79.4 million (Up by 7.3%)
- Ships, boats: -$79.4 million (Up by 2837.4%)
Montenegro has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels including oil 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 3.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($12.6 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 3.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 3.8% for 2018. Those metrics suggest a relatively decreasing 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 16.21% at December 2019 down from 15.8% one year earlier, 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 June 3, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 3, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 3, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 3, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 3, 2020
Wikipedia, Flag of Montenegro. Accessed on June 3, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 3, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Montenegro. Accessed on June 3, 2020
Wikipedia, Montenegro. Accessed on June 3, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 3, 2020
WorldOMeter, Montenegro Population. Accessed on June 3, 2020