That projected dollar amount results from a -73.1% reduction from $1.67 billion in 2018.
Year over year, the overall value of South Sudanese exports dropped -12% compared to $509 million in 2021.
The top 2 most valuable exported goods from South Sudan are crude oil and processed petroleum oils. Combined, South Sudan’s leading pair of energy exports accounted for 99.4% of the country’s overall revenues from export sales. Such a high percentage belies an intensely concentrated portfolio of exported products.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2022, the South Sudanese pound depreciated by -278.1% against the US dollar since 2018 and diluted by -74.5% from 2021 to 2022. South Sudan’s weaker local currency made the African nation’s exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
South Sudan’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 99.95% of products exported from South Sudan were bought by importers in: mainland China (52.9% of the Sudanese total), Italy (31.5%), Singapore (15%), India (0.3%), Egypt (0.05%), Slovakia (also 0.05%), Rwanda (0.04%), Kenya (0.03%), Czech Republic (0.02%), United Kingdom (0.018%), Israel (0.014%) and Australia (0.01%).
From a continental perspective, 68.2% of South Sudan’s exports by value was delivered to buyers in Asian countries while 31.6% was sold to importers in Europe. South Sudan shipped another 0.14% worth of goods to Africa. Smaller percentages went to Oceania only Australia (0.01%), Caribbean specifically Trinidad and Tobago (0.001%), then North America (0.0004%) Canada only.
Given South Sudan’s population of 14.6 million people, its total $448.1 million in 2022 exported goods translates to roughly $31 for every resident in the northeast African nation. That dollar metric falls below the average $35 per capita one year earlier during 2021.
South Sudan’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in South Sudanese global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from South Sudan.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$445.4 million (99.4% of total exports)
- Wood: $1.6 million (0.4%)
- Machinery including computers: $482,000 (0.11%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $167,000 (0.04%)
- Aluminum: $71,000 (0.02%)
- Cotton: $46,000 (0.01%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $45,000 (0.01%)
- Coffee, tea, spices: $38,000 (0.008%)
- Gems, precious metals: $29,000 (0.006%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $28,000 (0.006%)
South Sudan’s top 10 exports accounted for 99.96% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Aluminum was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 2,267% from 2021 to 2022.
In second place for improving export sales was the gems and precious metals product category, via a 383.3% advance led by precious metal scrap.
South Sudan’s shipments of coffee, tea and spices posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 245.5%.
The severest decliner among South Sudan’s top 10 export categories was electrical machinery and equipment, recording a -60% year-over-year reduction.
Products Generating South Sudan’s Best Trade Surpluses
The following types of South Sudanese 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$432.8 million (Down by -6.5% since 2021)
- Wood: $1.2 million (Reversing a -$4.7 million deficit)
- Gems, precious metals: $29,000 (Down by -108%)
- Cotton: $17,000 (Reversing a -$3 million deficit)
- Paper yarn, woven fabric: $17,000 (Reversing a -$1,000 deficit)
South Sudan has highly positive net exports in the international trade of crude oil and, to a much lesser extent, refined petroleum oils. In turn, these cashflows support South Sudan’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels-related product category.
Products Causing South Sudan’s Worst Trade Deficits
Overall South Sudan recorded an estimated -US$64.4 million trade surplus for 2022, shrinking by -91.4% the -$750.6 million deficit one year earlier in 2021.
Below are exports from South Sudan that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country South Sudan’s goods trail South Sudanese importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$67 million (Down by -17.6% since 2021)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$55.9 million (Down by -28.1%)
- Vehicles: -$31.8 million (Down by -83.3%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$29.9 million (Down by -58%)
- Cereal/milk preparations: -$25.9 million (Up by 29.6%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$25.7 million (Up by 50.1%)
- Books, newspapers, pictures: -$22.9 million (Up by 194.2%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: -$22.5 million (Down by -50%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: -$21.4 million (Down by -38.6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$21.3 million (Down by -28.3%)
South Sudan has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery-related product categories.
South Sudanese Export Companies
Not one South Sudanese corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000 listing for the world’s largest companies.
Wikipedia does list some international trade-related companies from South Sudan. Selected examples are shown below.
- Buffalo Commercial Bank (commerical banking)
- Ivory Bank (commerical banking)
- Mountain Trade and Development Bank (commerical banking)
- Southern Sudan Beverages Limited (brewery)
- South Supreme Airlines (airliner)
In macroeconomic terms, South Sudan’s total exported goods represent 6.3% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($7.1 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 6.3% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2022 compares to roughly 4% in 2021. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for South Sudan’s total economic performance, albeit based on a relatively short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic health is its unemployment rate. South Sudan’s unemployment rate averaged 13% for 2022, down from an average 13.5% in 2021.
South Sudan’s capital city is Juba.
See also Top South African Trading Partners, Kenya’s Top 10 Exports and Top African Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Africa: South Sudan. Accessed on September 6, 2023
Forbes, Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on September 6, 2023
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates (Average Domestic) – South Sudan. Accessed on September 6, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on September 6, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 6, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on September 6, 2023
Wikipedia, Flag of South Sudan. Accessed on September 6, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of South Sudan. Accessed on September 6, 2023
Wikipedia, South Sudan. Accessed on September 6, 2023
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Juba, South Sudan. Accessed on September 6, 2023