Year over year, the value of Venezuela’s exported goods shrank by -32.1% from $4.8 billion during 2020.
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 27.6 million people, the estimated $3.3 billion in 2021 Venezuelan exports translates to about $120 per person. That dollar metric greatly is less than the average $170 per capita for 2020.
Venezuela’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Venezuelan global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Venezuela.
- Iron, steel: US$986 million (30% of total exports)
- Organic chemicals: $574 million (17.4%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $385.3 million (11.7%)
- Fish: $302.1 million (9.2%)
- Aluminum: $137 million (4.2%)
- Copper: $105.7 million (3.2%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $101.3 million (3.1%)
- Live animals: $85.9 million (2.6%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $81.9 million (2.5%)
- Meat/seafood preparations: $73.4 million (2.2%)
Venezuela’s top 10 export product categories accounted for 86.1% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Live animals: was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 76,637% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place for improving export sales was the ores, slag and ash category via a 323.6% gain propelled by Venezuela’s higher international sales of iron ores and concentrates.
Venezuela’s shipments of aluminum posted the third-fastest gain in value (up 175.7%).
Year over year, the leading decliner among Venezuela’s top 10 export categories was mineral fuels including oil thanks to its -97.5% drop. The greatest reductions in the reported data were for exported petroleum oils, particularly crude oils.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, iron or steel scrap represents Venezuela’s most valuable exported product at 19.3% of the country’s total. In second place were acyclic alcohols (16.3%), iron ores and concentrates (11.7%), iron ore reduced products (6.1%), lobsters and other crustaceans (5.7%), raw aluminum (3.3%), alcoholic beverages (3%), copper waste and scrap (2.7%), iron or non-alloy steel semi-finished products (also 2.7%), then live bovine cattle (2.6%).
Products Generating Highest Trade Surpluses for Venezuela
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.
- Iron, steel: US$920.7 million (Up by 130.4% since 2020)
- Organic chemicals: $479.6 million (Up by 165.7%)
- Ores, slag, ash: $385.3 million (Up by 324.6%)
- Fish: $294.5 million (Up by 23.5%)
- Aluminum: $118.3 million (Up by 242.7%)
- Live animals: $79.7 million (Down by -1907.3%)
- Copper: $63.8 million (Up by 81.8%)
- Fertilizers: $41.4 million (Up by 48.2%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $41 million (Up by 4366.9%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $34.6 million (Up by 89.7%)
Venezuela has highly positive net exports particularly in the international trade of iron and steel. In turn, these cashflows indicate Venezuela’s strong competitive advantages under the iron and steel category.
Products Causing Worst Trade Deficits for Venezuela
Venezuela posted an overall -$4 billion trade deficit during 2021, up 95.5% from the -$2 billion deficit one year earlier in 2020.
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.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -US$681.6 million (Up by 13% since 2020)
- Cereals: -$664.8 million (Down by -2.7%)
- Machinery including computers: -$531.3 million (Down by -23.1%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$398.8 million (Up by 60.4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$346.7 million (Up by 73.1%)
- Cereal/milk preparations: -$323.5 million (Up by 33.5%)
- Vehicles: -$308 million (Down by -5.1%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$250.5 million (Up by 31.4%)
- Sugar, sugar confectionery: -$222.5 million (Up by 14.4%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$212.8 million (Reversing a $2.3 billion surplus in 2020)
Venezuela has highly negative net exports and therefore international trade deficits for electrical machinery and equipment.
Major 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 3.3% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($148.5 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That percentage compares to 11.7% one year earlier in 2020. Those percentages suggest a plummeting dependence on international trade for Venezuela’s overall economic performance, albeit based on a very short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Venezuela’s average unemployment rate in 2021 was 9.38%, down from an average 8.8% one year earlier according to Statista.
Venezuela’s capital is Caracas, a city nicknamed The Avila’s Sultana.
See also Venezuela’s Top 10 Imports, Brazil’s Top 10 Imports, Top South American Export Countries and Argentina’s Top 10 Imports
Central Intelligence Agency, South America: Venezuela. Accessed on June 11, 2022
Forbes 2021 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 11, 2022
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on June 11, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 11, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 11, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 11, 2022
The World Bank, Official Exchange Rate (LCU per US$, period average) – Venezuela. Accessed on June 11, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 11, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Venezuela. Accessed on June 11, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 11, 2022
Wikipedia, Venezuela. Accessed on June 11, 2022
WorldOMeter, Venezuela Population. Accessed on June 11, 2022