Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, Cyprus uses the euro which appreciated by 3.1% against the US dollar since 2016 and increased by 2% from 2019 to 2020. The weaker EU currency in 2020 made Cypriot exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively more expensive for international buyers compared to 2019.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 58.7% of products exported from Cyprus were bought by importers in: Greece (8.6% of the global total), Liberia (7.4%), United Kingdom (6.6%), Libya (6.1%), Marshall Islands (5.8%), Netherlands (5.6%), France (4.2%), China (3.1%), Israel (3.1%), Lebanon (also 3.1%), United States (2.9%) and Germany (2.2%).
From a continental perspective, 45.8% of Cyprus’ exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 22.1% were sold to importers in Asia. Cyprus shipped another 18.1% worth of goods to Africa. Smaller percentages went to Oceania led by Marshall Islands and Australia (7.4%), North America (4.2%) then Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (2.5%).
Given the Cypriot population of 886,000 people, its total $3.1 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $3,500 for every resident in the island country.
Top 10 Exports from Cyprus
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Cypriot global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Cyprus.
- Ships, boats: US$957.6 million (31.3% of total exports)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $495.5 million (16.2%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $432.3 million (14.1%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: $306.5 million (10%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $115.3 million (3.8%)
- Machinery including computers: $90.8 million (3%)
- Organic chemicals: $42.8 million (1.4%)
- Vegetables: $41.4 million (1.4%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $33.4 million (1.1%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $32.2 million (1.1%)
The top 10 exports from Cyprus accounted for 83.4% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Dairy, eggs and honey (up 19.1%) and pharmaceuticals (up 17.6%) as well as pharmaceuticals (up 17.6%) were the only top export categories from Cyprus that increased from 2019 to 2020.
The leading decliner among Cyprus’ top 10 export categories was mineral fuels including oil thanks to a -32.1% plummet year over year.
At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, the most valuable exported products from Cyprus include the highly capital-intensive category cruise or cargo ships and barges (23.6% of total) trailed by medication mixes in dosage (14%), refined petroleum oils (11%), cheese and curd (9.9%), warships including lifeboats (4.6%), electrical resistors (1.8%), tugboats and pusher craft (1.6%) then yachts and other pleasure or sports vessels (1.5%).
The following types of Cypriot 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 reflect 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.
- Dairy, eggs, honey: US$213.3 million (Up by 35% since 2019)
- Pharmaceuticals: $61.5 million (Up by 6.8%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $9.3 million (Down by -3.3%)
- Raw hides, skins not furskins, leather: $4.1 million (Up by 12.2%)
- Woodpulp: $3 million (Down by -8%)
- Miscellaneous animal-origin products: $1.9 million (Up by 278.9%)
- Furskins, artificial fur: $623,000 (Reversing a -$1.7 million deficit)
- Vegetables: $145,000 (Down by -98.8%)
Cyprus has highly positive net exports in the international trade under the dairy, eggs and honey category. In turn, these cashflows indicate Cyprus’ strong competitive advantages under that agricultural products category.
Cyprus incurred an overall -$5.6 billion trade deficit during 2020, down -1.2% from the -$5.7 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Cyprus that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country goods trail Cypriot importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$814.4 million (Down by -18.2% since 2019)
- Vehicles: -$704.1 million (Up by 0.1%)
- Machinery including computers: -$444.3 million (Up by 6.6%)
- Ships, boats: -$409.5 million (Up by 293.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$361.5 million (Up by 10.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$190.7 million (Down by -0.1%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$145.3 million (Down by -5.2%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$138.3 million (Up by 13.2%)
- Iron, steel: -$132.7 million (Down by -19.4%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$123.6 million (Down by -5.0%)
Cyprus has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits, notably for refined petroleum oils and high temperature coal tar products under the mineral fuels including oil category.
Cypriot Export Companies
Not one Cypriot corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists exporters from Cyprus. Selected examples are shown below.
- ASBIS (computer hardware/software, mobile gadgets)
- Cyprus Wine Coverage-KEO (alcoholic beverages, juices, bottle water)
- Francoudi & Stephanou (trading conglomerate, shipping, alcohol)
- Leon Beer (brewery)
- Petrolina (oil, gas)
In macroeconomic terms, Cyprus’ total exported goods represent 8.8% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($34.6 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 8.8% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 9.5% for 2019. This suggests a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Cyprus’ total economic performance albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Cyprus’ average unemployment rate was 8.009% for 2020, up from 7.005% one year earlier according to the International Monetary Fund.
Nicosia is the capital city of Cyprus.
See also Cyprus Top Trading Partners, Top EU Export Countries and Top EU Import Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Europe: Cyprus. Accessed on April 4, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 4, 2021
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on April 4, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 4, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 4, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 4, 2021
Wikipedia, Cyprus. Accessed on April 4, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on April 4, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Cyprus. Accessed on April 4, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on April 4, 2021