That estimated dollar amount results from a 12,718% acceleration since 2021 when exports from the Cayman Islands totaled $17.1 million.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 100% of products exported from the Cayman Islands was bought by importers in: United States of America (77.8% of the Cayman’s global total), Jamaica (13.1%) and the United Kingdom (9.1%).
From a continental perspective, 94.5% of the Cayman Islands’ exports by value was delivered to North America, Latin America including the Caribbean (13.1%), and Europe (9.1%).
Given Cayman Islands’ population of 81,546 people, its total $2.2 billion in 2022 exports translates to roughly $26,800 for every resident in the independent territory closely related to the United Kingdom.
Cayman Islands’ Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Caymanian global shipments during 2022, 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 Cayman Islands.
- Ships, boats: US$1.8 billion (84.3% of total exports)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $199.1 million (9.1%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $98.6 million (4.5%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $17.6 million (0.8%)
- Iron, steel: $4.2 million (0.2%)
- Machinery including computers: $2.3 million (0.1%)
- Lead: $2.2 million (0.1%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $1.75 million (0.1%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.68 million (0.1%)
- Collector items, art, antiques: $1.1 million (0.1%)
The Cayman Islands’ top 10 export product categories generated 99.3% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Mineral fuels including oil represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 35,626% from 2021 to 2022.
In second place for improving export sales were collector items, art and antiques which increased by 2,043%.
The Cayman Islands’ shipments of lead, both as materials and items made from lead, posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 1,176%.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, pleasure or sports vessels including yachts represent Cayman Islands’ most valuable exported product. In second place were aircraft and spacecraft trailed by processed petroleum oils, petroleum gases, phone devices including smartphones, cruise or cargo ships and barges, breaker vessels, iron or steel scrap, electronic integrated circuits and microassemblies, then unwrought lead.
Products Resulting in Cayman Islands’ Best Trade Surpluses
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.
In turn, these cashflows indicate Cayman Islands’ competitive advantages for the product categories below.
- Aircraft, spacecraft: US$103.8 million (Reversing a -$2.3 million deficit in 2021)
- Lead: $2.2 million (Up by 1,207% from 2021)
- Woodpulp: $10,000 (Up by 25%)
The above are the only product categories generating trade surpluses for the Cayman Islands.
Products Causing Cayman Islands’ Worst Trade Deficits
Overall Cayman Islands racked up an estimated -US$2.45 billion product trade deficit for 2022, expanding by 61% from -$1.52 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2021.
Below are exports from Cayman Islands that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Cayman Islands’ goods trail Caymanian importer spending on foreign products.
- Ships, boats: -US$795.1 million (Up by 5381.1% since 2021)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$269.6 million (Up by 74.5%)
- Gems, precious metals: -$178.1 million (Up by 308.3%)
- Machinery including computers: -$101.2 million (Down by -11.9%)
- Vehicles: -$82.9 million (Down by -29%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$53.6 million (Down by -35.8%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$50.9 million (Down by -25.7%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$42.8 million (Down by -17.7%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$42.8 million (Down by -7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$31 million (Down by -68.6%)
Cayman Islands has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the ships and boats product category.
Caymanian Export Companies
One Caymanian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000, specifically pharmaceuticals supplier Herbalife Ltd.
Wikipedia also lists exports-related companies from the Cayman Islands. Selected examples are shown below.
- Fabrinet (telecommunications equipment)
- O2Micro International Limited (semiconductors)
- Ocean Rig (oil, gas)
- Theravance Biopharma, Inc (pharmaceuticals)
In macroeconomic terms, the Cayman Islands’ total exported goods represent an estimated 38.4% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($5.71 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars).
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Cayman’s unemployment rate averaged 2.1% for 2022, down from an average 5.7% in 2021 according to data from Trading Economics.
Cayman Islands’ capital city is George Town.
See also Haiti’s Top 10 Exports, Mexico’s Top 10 Exports and Netherlands Top 10 Exports
FlagPictures.org, Flag of Cayman Islands. Accessed on October 22, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 22, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 22, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on October 22, 2023
NASDAQ, Companies in Cayman Islands. Accessed on October 22, 2023
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Central America and Caribbean: Cayman Islands. Accessed on October 22, 2023
Wikipedia, Cayman Islands. Accessed on October 22, 2023