Paraguay is ranked as the 97th largest export economy in the world. Soybeans are the nation’s most valuable product representing about 24.4% of all shipments by value. Electrical energy comes in second at 23.3%. Other top export products include soya-bean oil cake (10.4%), frozen beef (7.2%), soya-bean oil (5.2%), and chilled or fresh beef (5%).
In 2018, Paraguay exported goods worth $9 billion to various countries across the world. The amount reflected a 4.2% gain from 2017 to 2018 but a -6.1% dip since 2014. In the first three quarters of 2019, the country exported goods worth $6 billion, -15.2% drop compared to a similar period in 2018. From a macroeconomic perspective, Paraguay’s total exports represent 9.6% of the nation’s overall GDP for 2018 (US$94.5 billion in Purchasing Power Parity). Paraguay’s biggest export partners include Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Russia, and the Netherlands.
Brazil is Paraguay’s biggest trading partner. In 2017 Paraguay shipped about 31.9% of its total exports to Brazil. Exports to Brazil averaged $96.34 million a month between 2014 and 2019, with the highest figures recorded occurring in October 2019 ($133.77 million).
The lowest value of exports was recorded in August 2015 ($57.70 million). Exports of mineral fuels, oils, and distillation products to Brazil currently make up the largest export products with a combined value of $1,641.84 million. Cereals (valued at $321.61 million) and electrical and electronic equipment (valued at $218.28 million) are the second and third largest exports by value to Brazil, respectively. Other Paraguayan exports to Brazil include plastics and articles ($80.31 million), meat and edible meat offal ($ 71.78 million), textile articles, sets and worn clothing ($68.84 million), oilseed, oleagic fruits, seed, fruit, and grain (valued at $63.74 million).
Exports valued below $60 million include miscellaneous chemical products, cleavage products, animal, vegetable fats and oils, aluminum and articles thereof, and articles of apparel.
Argentina is Paraguay’s second-largest trading partner. In 2017, Paraguay shipped about 15.9% of its total exports to Argentina. In 2018 the total value of exports to Argentina was $2.19 billion according to the UN COMTRADE database on international trade. According to trading economics, oilseed (including soybean), oleagic fruits, grain, seed, and other fruits accounted for 69% of the total exports to Argentina. According to the COMTRADE database, oilseed, oleagic fruits, grain, seeds, and fruits exports to Argentina were valued at $1.5 billion with soybean exports making up 99.9% of that group’s total export value.
Electrical energy, mineral fuels, oils, and distillation products made up 21% of total exports to Argentina. In 2018 electrical energy exported to Argentina was valued at $466.91 million. Other goods exported to Argentina include animal, vegetable fats and oils, cleavage products, electrical and electronic equipment, animal fodder, residues and wastes of the food industry, articles of apparel, and glassware. In 2018, exports of soybeans to Argentina, the world’s leading supplier of soy-meal livestock feed, were boosted by the need to fill the supply gap left by a drought experienced on the Argentine Pampas.
In 2017, Paraguay shipped about 6.9% of its total value of goods to Chile, making it Paraguay’s third-largest export partner. In 2018, meat and edible meat offal made up the largest export products by value to Chile, with a total export value of $334.47 million. Residues and wastes of the food industry came in second with a combined value of $212.35 million while cereals come in third place with a total export value of $39.89 million.
Other exports to Chile include oilseed, oleagic fruits, grain, fruit, and seed valued at $8.25 million, paper, paperboard, and articles of pulp with a combined value of $8.03 million, pharmaceutical products ($3.59 million), and wood, articles of wood, and charcoal with a combined value of $3.43 million. Exports destined for Chile that had a value of less than $3 million include miscellaneous chemical products, plastics, milling products, starches, malt, insulin, enzymes, glues, tobacco products, glass, and glassware.
In 2017, Paraguay shipped about 5.9% of its total export value of goods to Russia. The value of goods exported was $738.76 million in 2018, according to the UN COMTRADE database. Meat and edible meat offal made up 60% of the total value of goods shipped. Oil Seed, oleagic fruits, seed, grain, and fruits formed 38% of all exported goods with a total value of $300.99 million in 2018.
Other goods that were exported to Russia in 2018 include animal products such as stomachs, bladders, and guts ($8.79 million), dairy products, eggs, honey, and edible products (with a combined value of $1.86 million). Other items include cleavage products, animal, vegetable fats and oils (with a combined value of $1.53 million). Russia remains the largest market for Paraguayan beef exports taking up 52% of the nation’s beef exports.
Russia imports beef primarily for the production of sausages, hamburgers, and other food products. Experts, however, predict that beef exports to Russia will dip significantly by 2020 as four Paraguayan meatpackers were listed as ineligible for export to Russia due to high antibiotic residues. Going into the future, Paraguay is looking to increase the production of beef products and exports to Russia and other countries. Paraguay is also looking to enhance its gains in trade relations with Russia amid the Russia-west deteriorating ties. Paraguay is currently enjoying a positive balance of trade with Russia, meaning that its exports to Russia surpass the total value of imports from Russia.
Paraguay has registered impressive economic growth in the last 15 years. The economy achieved an average growth of 4.5% per year from 2004 to 2017. The economic growth has been accompanied by an increase in income earned by the bottom 40% of the population. As a result, the country experienced a reduction in poverty. Between 2004 and 2017, extreme and total poverty fell by 65% and 49%, respectively, while income grew among the bottom 40% of the population by 4.2% from 2003 to 2017. In the same period, the middle class has almost doubled. In 2015, the middle class accounted for 38% of the total population.