From 2020 to 2021, the value of Ukraine’s exports accelerated by 33.4%.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2021, the Ukrainian hryvnia depreciated by -2.6% against the US dollar since 2017 and fell by -1.2% from 2020 to 2021. Ukraine’s weaker local currency makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
The 5 most valuable exported products from Ukraine generated 41.9% of the Eastern European country’s total international sales in 2021. At the more detailed 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Ukraine’s top money-making shipments were for: iron ores or concentrates, sunflower-seed or safflower oil, corn, wheat and semi-finished products made from iron or non-alloy steel.
Ukraine’s Key Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 57.2% of products exported from Ukraine were bought by importers in: mainland China (12.1% of the global total), Poland (7.6%), Turkey (6.1%), Russia (5.1%), Italy (4.9%), Germany (4.2%), India (3.8%), Netherlands (3.2%), Egypt (2.9%), Spain (2.5%), Hungary (2.4%) and the United States of America (2.4%).
Ukraine shipped $3.3 billion worth of goods to the Russian Federation in 2021, up by 23.7% from 2020. The most valuable Ukrainian goods exported to Russia include aluminum oxides, flat-rolled non-stainless steel products and hot-rolled U-shaped sections made from iron or non-alloy steel, and liquid pumps.
Ukraine spent $5.9 billion on products imported from the Russian Federation.
Ukraine’s biggest cash-generating imports from Russia are energy-related products including coal, processed petroleum oils and gas trailed by nuclear reactors including parts then ammonia.
Ukraine posted an overall -$2.5 billion trade deficit for 2021 up from -$1.8 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Shifting out to an overall continental perspective, 50.3% of Ukraine’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 36.8% were sold to importers in Asia. Ukraine shipped another 8.1% worth of goods to Africa.
Smaller percentages went to North America (2.9%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.9%) then Oceania led by Australia and New Zealand (0.1%).
Given Ukraine’s population of 41.1 million people, its total $68.9 billion worth of exports in 2021 translates to roughly $1,600 for every resident in the Eastern European nation. That dollar metric compares with an average $1,200 per capita for 2020.
Ukraine’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Ukrainian global shipments during 2021, at the 2-digit HTS code level. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Ukraine.
For a more detailed presentation of the top 100 goods exported from Ukraine, please see the section entitled Searchable List of Ukraine’s Most Valuable Export Products further down this article.
- Iron, steel: US$13.1 billion (19.9% of total exports)
- Cereals: $11.8 billion (18%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $7 billion (10.7%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $6.9 billion (10.5%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $3.2 billion (4.8%)
- Machinery including computers: $2.1 billion (3.2%)
- Oil seeds: $2.1 billion (3.2%)
- Wood: $1.9 billion (2.9%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $1.7 billion (2.6%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $1.2 billion (1.9%)
Ukraine’s top 10 exports in terms of product category accounted for over three-quarters (77.8%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Iron and steel was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 70.8% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place for improving export sales was cereals via a 25.8% gain led by higher international sales of corn, wheat and barley.
Ukraine’s shipments of ores, slag, ash posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 59%.
The leading most modest gain among Ukraine’s top 10 export categories was articles made from iron or steel, thanks to a 41.7% rise year over year.
Products Generating Greatest Trade Surpluses for Ukraine
The following types of Ukrainian 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.
- Cereals: US$11.68 billion (Up by 26.4% since 2020)
- Iron, steel: $11.67 billion (Up by 75.4%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $6.7 billion (Up by 65.4%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $6.5 billion (Up by 18%)
- Oil seeds: $1.7 billion (Up by 14.2%)
- Wood: $1.53 billion (Up by 38.2%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: $1.39 billion (Up by 6.8%)
- Meat: $621.6 million (Up by 27.7%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $546.6 million (Up by 22.8%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $463.3 million (Up by 43.9%)
Ukraine has highly positive net exports particularly in the international trade of corn, wheat and barley. In turn, these cashflows indicate Ukraine’s strong competitive advantages under the cereals category.
Products Causing Biggest Trade Deficits for Ukraine
Ukraine incurred an overall -$4.1 billion trade deficit in 2021, down -10.8% from -$4.6 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Ukraine that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Ukraine’s goods trail Ukrainian importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$11.7 billion (Up by 62.5% since 2019)
- Vehicles: -$6.8 billion (Up by 26.9%)
- Machinery including computers: -$5.7 billion (Up by 37.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$3 billion (Up by 5.8%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$2.7 billion (Up by 19%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$2.5 billion (Up by 34.6%)
- Other chemical goods: -$1.5 billion (Up by 25.4%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$1.3 billion (Up by 19.3%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: -$1.1 billion (Up by 26.9%)
- Fertilizers: -$921.7 million (Up by 98.6%)
Ukraine has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for refined petroleum oils, petroleum gases, coal and, to a lesser degree, crude oil under the mineral fuels-related category.
Ukrainian Export Companies
The following companies are selected examples of leading companies headquartered in Ukraine. Wikipedia lists the biggest exporters from Ukraine. Selected examples are shown below.
- Metinvest (mining, metals)
- Naftohaz of Ukraine (oil, gas)
- Aeromeh (aircraft)
- Azovstal iron and steel works (iron, steel)
- Bogdan group (automobile maker)
- Chumak (food processing)
- EKTA (LED displays, imaging equipment/software)
- Motor Sich (engines)
- Ukrainian Automobile Corporation (automobile maker)
- Ukrtatnafta (refined oil)
- Zaporizhstal (steel)
Searchable List of Ukraine’s Most Valuable Export Products
At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, the following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Ukraine during 2021. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2020. Note that an entry of 0% in the right-most column means 2020 data was unavailable.
|Rank||Ukraine Export Goods||2021 Value (US$)||2020-1|
|1||Iron ores, concentrates||$6,810,644,000||+60.7%|
|5||Iron or non-alloy steel products (semi-finished)||$3,888,485,000||+41.4%|
|6||Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products||$3,436,732,000||+114.9%|
|10||Miscellaneous oil cakes||$1,275,725,000||+8.2%|
|16||Coiled iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods||$638,962,000||+126%|
|18||Cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products||$623,789,000||+97.3%|
|20||Iron or steel tubes, pipes||$614,734,000||+37.1%|
|21||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$503,067,000||+25.8%|
|22||Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods||$443,268,000||+10.9%|
|24||Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)||$432,262,000||+33.1%|
|26||Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)||$368,531,000||+135.7%|
|28||Vinyl chloride polymers||$328,996,000||+115.6%|
|31||Veneer sheets, sheets for sawn wood||$276,466,000||+34.3%|
|32||Soya-bean oil-cake, other solid residues||$261,341,000||+16.1%|
|33||Medication mixes in dosage||$259,949,000||+10.7%|
|34||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$248,478,000||+25.9%|
|35||Wood carpentry, builders' joinery||$248,228,000||+29.9%|
|36||Flat-rolled other alloy steel products||$244,218,000||+118.3%|
|38||Phone devices including smartphones||$239,499,000||+27.3%|
|39||Railway/tramway locomotives, rolling stodk||$227,798,000||-24.7%|
|40||Iron or steel scrap||$221,589,000||+2234.7%|
|41||Iron or non-alloy steel angles, shapes, sections||$208,610,000||+47.7%|
|42||Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)||$200,467,000||+18.5%|
|43||Glass bottles, jars, pots, other containers||$197,205,000||+13.2%|
|44||Processed petroleum oils||$194,674,000||+88.5%|
|45||Frozen fruits, nuts||$184,708,000||+66.9%|
|46||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$184,483,000||+16.5%|
|48||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$169,371,000||+18.7%|
|49||Titanium ores, concentrates||$159,072,000||+15%|
|50||Air or vacuum pumps||$158,654,000||+22.2%|
|52||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$143,484,000||+70.4%|
|53||Liquid pumps and elevators||$141,034,000||+13.4%|
|54||Wood packing cases||$140,442,000||+104.2%|
|55||Dried shelled vegetables||$131,865,000||+1.7%|
|56||Non-alcoholic drinks (not water/juice/milk)||$129,761,000||+76.6%|
|57||Stainless steel bars, rods||$123,283,000||+49.6%|
|58||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$122,820,000||+9.6%|
|59||Fuel wood, wood chips, sawdust||$122,101,000||+20.6%|
|60||Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)||$119,273,000||+2.2%|
|61||Unglazed ceramic paving, tiles||$116,383,000||+137.5%|
|64||Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes||$113,824,000||+83.2%|
|65||Alloy steel bars, rods||$113,224,000||+24.2%|
|68||Particle board, other ligneous materials||$106,143,000||+94.4%|
|69||Insoles, heel cushions||$104,585,000||+15%|
|72||Miscellaneous iron and steel structures||$102,729,000||+19.5%|
|73||Other coloring matter, luminophores||$97,857,000||+17.4%|
|74||Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)||$95,521,000||+78.1%|
|75||Bottle stoppers, caps, lids||$94,834,000||+41.2%|
|76||Fruit and vegetable juices||$94,333,000||+27.2%|
|78||Bran, other residues||$93,230,000||+0.6%|
|79||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$90,781,000||+18.6%|
|80||Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)||$89,378,000||+1.1%|
|81||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$86,788,000||+23.9%|
|83||Cruise/cargo ships, barges||$86,185,000||-5.1%|
|84||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$85,026,000||+29.9%|
|85||Electrical converters/power units||$84,520,000||+20.5%|
|86||Iron or non-alloy steel wire||$84,441,000||+46%|
|88||Ball, roller bearings||$84,071,000||+36.9%|
|91||Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners||$81,858,000||+3.7%|
|94||Miscellaneous engines, motors||$80,592,000||+39.2%|
|95||Miscellaneous wooden articles||$79,225,000||+46%|
|97||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$78,838,000||+39%|
|98||Laminated wood (including plywood, veneer panels)||$78,481,000||+41.4%|
|99||Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms||$76,847,000||+37.3%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$56.8 billion or 86.2% by value for all products exported from Ukraine during 2021.
In macroeconomic terms, Ukraine’s total exported goods represent 11.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($588.4 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 11.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 8.6% for 2020. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Ukraine’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Ukraine’s average unemployment rate was 9.784% in 2021, up from 9.15% for 2020 according to the International Monetary Fund.
Ukraine’s capital city is Kiev.
See also Ukraine’s Top 10 Imports, Russia’s Top 10 Exports, Wheat Exports by Country and Ukraine’s Top Trading Partners Plus China VS Russia
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International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 15, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 15, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 15, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on May 15, 2022
Wikipedia, List of the biggest companies of Ukraine. Accessed on May 15, 2022
Wikipedia, List of companies of Ukraine. Accessed on May 15, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on May 15, 2022
Wikipedia, Ukraine. Accessed on May 15, 2022