Based on the estimated exchange rate for 2020, the Peruvian Sol depreciated by -1% against the US dollar since 2016 and declined by -2.1% from 2019 to 2020. Peru’s weaker local currency makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 80.3% of products exported from Peru were bought by importers in: China (28.3% of the global total), United States (16.1%), Canada (6.2%), South Korea (5.8%), Japan (4.4%), Netherlands (3.7%), Switzerland (3.5%), India (2.84%), Spain (2.8%), Chile (2.7%), Brazil (1.9%) and Germany (also 1.9%).
From a continental perspective, 46.1% of Peru’s exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 23.4% were sold to importers in North America. Peru shipped another 17.6% worth of goods to Europe with 11.4% going to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (11.4%). Smaller percentages arrived in Africa (0.7%) and Oceania led by Australia (0.4%).
Given Peru’s population of 33.5 million people, its total $38.8 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $1,200 for every resident in the South American nation.
Peru’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Peruvian global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Peru.
- Ores, slag, ash: US$13.2 billion (34.1% of total exports)
- Gems, precious metals: $6.7 billion (17.2%)
- Fruits, nuts: $3.8 billion (9.9%)
- Copper: $2.2 billion (5.8%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $1.5 billion (3.8%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $1.3 billion (3.5%)
- Fish: $982.2 million (2.5%)
- Coffee, tea, spices: $849.3 million (2.2%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $691 million (1.8%)
- Vegetables: $676.8 million (1.7%)
By value, Peru’s top 10 exports accounted for over four-fifths (82.5%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Fruits and nuts represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 16.1% from 2019 to 2020. In second place for improving export sales were coffee, tea and spices via a 12.1% gain led by coffee. Peru’s shipments of copper posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 10.6%.
The leading decliner among Peru’s top 10 export categories was mineral fuels including oil thanks to a -53% drop year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Peru’s number one export product were copper ores and concentrates (23.7% of total exports). In second place was gold (16.6%), refined copper (4.6%), inedible meat flour (3%), iron ores and concentrates (2.8%) and miscellaneous fresh fruits (also 2.8%).
Overall Peru generated a $2.7 billion trade surplus in 2020, down -2.8% from $2.8 billion in black ink for the prior year.
The following types of Peruvian 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$13.1 billion (Down by -20.1% since 2019)
- Gems, precious metals: $6.6 billion (Down by -6.7%)
- Fruits, nuts: $3.7 billion (Up by 16.8%)
- Copper: $2.2 billion (Up by 11.2%)
- Fish: $808.3 million (Down by -21.6%)
- Coffee, tea, spices: $795.1 million (Up by 10.5%)
- Zinc: $627.3 million (Down by -19.6%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $626.3 million (Down by -40%)
- Vegetables: $566.2 million (Down by -5.5%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $528.2 million (Up by 11%)
Peru has highly positive net exports in the international trade of raw materials such as copper, zinc and lead. In turn, these cashflows indicate Peru’s strong competitive advantages under the ores, slag and ash product category. Peru also posted a healthy surplus in the trade of gold.
Below are exports from Peru that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Peru’s goods trail Peruvian importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$4.9 billion (Down by -7% since 2019)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$3.4 billion (Down by -15%)
- Vehicles: -$2.7 billion (Down by -29.6%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$1.8 billion (Down by -36.7%)
- Cereals: -$1.4 billion (Up by 3.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.38 billion (Down by -11.1%)
- Iron, steel: -$1.26 billion (Down by -6.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$1 billion (Up by 13%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$863.9 million (Up by 6.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$847.7 million (Down by -16.9%)
Peru has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery notably computers and heavy machinery including bulldozers and excavators.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Peru’s competitive disadvantages in the international market for machinery-related products, but also represent key opportunities for Peru to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.
Peruvian Export Companies
Peru had only one company on Forbes Global 2000 rankings, a regional bank named Credicorp.
Wikipedia lists the following the following Peruvian companies, which are involved in global trade.
- Coporación Aceros Arequipa (steel products)
- Ferreyros (industrial, construction machinery)
- Maple Energy (oil)
- Peru LNG (natural gas)
- Petroperú (petroleum)
- Backus and Johnston (brewery)
In macroeconomic terms, Peru’s total exported goods represent 9.4% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($478.3 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 9.4% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 10.3% for 2019. This seems to suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Peru’s total economic performance albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Peru’s average unemployment rate was 6.684% for 2020 down slightly from 6.7% one year earlier, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Peru’s capital city is Lima.
See also Peru’s Top Trading Partners and Top South American Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on March 10, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 10, 2021
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on March 10, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 10, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 10, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 10, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on March 10, 202116, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Peru. Accessed on March 10, 2021
Wikipedia, Peru. Accessed on March 10, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on March 10, 2021