Top Central American Export Countries 2020

Street in Costa Rica

Exports from Central America were worth a total US$50.6 billion in 2020, increasing by 13.2% since 2016 and accelerating by 6.5% from 2019 to 2020.

For benchmarking purposes, global exports from all countries worldwide equaled $17.271 trillion in 2020, rising 8.4% in value since 2016 but decreasing by-7.8% year over year. To give further context, consider that Central American exported goods represent well under one percent (0.3%) of the global tally.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, the total Gross Domestic Product for all Central American countries amounted to $517 billion for 2020. In context, the $50.6 billion in exports represents about 10% of total Central American economic output.

Given Central America’s population of about 50.7 million people, the total $50.7 billion in Central American exports during 2020 translates to roughly $1,000 for every person living in a Central American country.

Below are the top Central American export countries plus the corresponding dollar value in global shipments for 2020. Also shown is each country’s overall share of exports from all Central American nations.

  1. Costa Rica: US$11.6 billion (23% of total Central American exports)
  2. Guatemala: $11.4 billion (22.5%)
  3. Panama: $9.7 billion (19.1%)
  4. Honduras: $8.5 billion (16.7%)
  5. Nicaragua: $5.1 billion (10.1%)
  6. El Salvador: $4.1 billion (8.2%)
  7. Belize: $211.9 million (0.4%)

The fastest growers from 2019 to 2020 among Central American exporters were Honduras (up 107.3%), Costa Rica (up 17.3%), Nicaragua (up 10.8%) and Guatemala (up 9%).

There were a trio of decliners year over year. Central American reductions in export revenues from 2019 to 2020 belong to Belize (down -14%), Panama (down -13.7%) and El Salvador (down -0.9%).

The most populous countries in Central America are Guatemala which is home to 18 million residents, Honduras (9.9 million residents), Nicaragua (6.5 million residents), El Salvador (6.49 million residents), Costa Rica (5.1 million residents) and Panama (4.3 million residents).

See also Guatemala’s Top 10 Exports, Costa Rica’s Top 10 Exports, El Salvador’s Top 10 Exports and Panama’s Top 10 Exports

Research Sources:
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports and Field Listing: Population. Accessed on October 27, 2021

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on October 27, 2021

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 27, 2021

Worldometers, Central America Population. Accessed on October 27, 2021

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