From 2019 to 2020, the value of Venezuela’s exported goods declined by -71.9%.
A federal republic on South America’s northern coast, Venezuela is bordered by Guyana to its east, Brazil to its south and Colombia to its west.
Economically, Venezuela is highly dependent on its petroleum oil exports which represent about two-thirds (67.4%) of the Latin American nation’s total product shipments. That concentrated percentage shows Venezuela’s vulnerability to a lower oil prices. Venezuela’s overall petroleum exports break down to 63.2% for crude oil shipments compared to 4.2% worth for refined petroleum oils.
Given Venezuela’s population of 28 million people, the estimated $4.8 billion in 2020 Venezuelan exports translates to about $170 per person.
Venezuela’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Venezuelan global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Venezuela.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$3.3 billion (68.9% of total exports)
- Iron, steel: $427 million (9%)
- Organic chemicals: $241.8 million (5.1%)
- Fish: $235.9 million (5%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $91 million (1.9%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $67.3 million (1.4%)
- Copper: $51.4 million (1.1%)
- Aluminum: $49.3 million (1%)
- Fertilizers: $45.9 million (1%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $44.8 million (0.9%)
Venezuela’s top 10 exports accounted for 95.2% of the overall value of its global shipments.
There were only 2 gainers from 2019 to 2020, specifically fertilizers (up 10,915%) and iron or steel (up 84%).
The leading decliner among Venezuela’s top 10 export categories was mineral fuels including oil via a -77.9% plunge year over year.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, crude oil represents Venezuela’s most valuable exported product at 63.2% of the country’s total. In second place were iron ore reduced products (6.6%), trailed by acyclic alcohols (4.8%), processed petroleum oils (4.2%), crustaceans including lobsters (2.9%), iron ores and concentrates (1.9%), iron or steel scrap (1.7%), coal including solid fuels made from coal (1.5%), alcohol including spirits and liqueurs (1.4%), and frozen whole fish (1.2%).
The following types of Venezuelan 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$2.3 billion (Down by -83.1% since 2019)
- Iron, steel: $395.5 million (Up by 95.4%)
- Fish: $230.8 million (Down by -1.4%)
- Organic chemicals: $188.3 million (Down by -43.7%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $90.8 million (Down by -17.8%)
- Aluminum: $38.3 million (Down by -34%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $36.2 million (Down by -33.3%)
- Copper: $35.7 million (Down by -15.4%)
- Fertilizers: $27.1 million (Reversing a -$15.9 million deficit in 2019)
- Cocoa: $25.9 million (Down by -48.8%)
Venezuela has highly positive net exports particularly in the international trade of crude oil and, to a lesser extent, petroleum coke. In turn, these cashflows indicate Venezuela’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels including oil category.
Overall Venezuela posted a -$1.5 billion trade deficit during 2020, reversing an $11.3 billion surplus one year earlier.
Below are exports from Venezuela that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Venezuela’s goods trail Venezuelan importer spending on foreign products.
- Cereals: -US$672.4 million (Up by 21.2% since 2019)
- Machinery including computers: -$640.3 million (Up by 25.6%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$514.5 million (Up by 41.7%)
- Vehicles: -$267.4 million (Up by 31.8%)
- Cereal/milk preparations: -$235.3 million (Up by 47.5%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$230.8 million (Up by 95.9%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: -$193.6 million (Up by 129.3%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$189.9 million (Up by 42.6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$154.3 million (Down by -23.5%)
- Milling products, malt, starches: -$133.8 million (Up by 83.7%)
Venezuela has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for cereals, mainly rice, corn and wheat.
Venezuelan Export Companies
Two Venezuelan corporations ranked among Forbes Global 2000, namely:
- Mercantil Servicios
- Banco Occidental
Both corporations are regional banks.
Wikipedia lists exporters from Venezuela. Selected examples are shown below.
Citgo Petroleum Corporation and Petróleos de Venezuela are two of Venezuela’s largest oil and gas companies.
CVG Alcasa is a leading aluminum producer. Siderúrgica del Orinoco and Siderúrgica del Turbio, S.A. are examples of Venezuelan steel manufacturers.
In macroeconomic terms, Venezuela’s total exported goods represented 11.7% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($144.7 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That percentage compares to 12.1% one year earlier. That decline suggests a decreasing dependence on international trade for Venezuela’s overall economic performance, albeit based on a very short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Venezuela’s average unemployment rate in 2020 was 9.38%, down from an average 8.8% one year earlier according to Statista.
Venezuela’s capital is Caracas, a city nicknamed The Avila’s Sultana.
See also Venezuela’s Top 10 Imports, Top South American Export Countries and Capital Facts for Caracas, Venezuela
Central Intelligence Agency, South America: Venezuela. Accessed on June 27, 2021
Forbes 2020 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 27, 2021
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on June 27, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 27, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 27, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 27, 2021
The World Bank, Official Exchange Rate (LCU per US$, period average) – Venezuela. Accessed on June 27, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 27, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Venezuela. Accessed on June 27, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 27, 2021
Wikipedia, Venezuela. Accessed on June 27, 2021
WorldOMeter, Venezuela Population. Accessed on June 27, 2021