Kuwait flag Kuwait: Visió econòmica i política

Xifres de comerç exterior de Kuwait

Foreign Trade in Figures

Kuwait is highly dependent on foreign trade, which represented 98.1% of the GDP in 2019, the latest World Bank data available. As the fifth largest OPEC oil producer, Kuwait's exports earnings mainly come from mineral fuels, oils and  distillation products (over 89% of total exports and accounting for almost 43% of the GDP). On the other hand, the country depends particularly on imports of food products, consumer goods and semi-finished products. Imports have increased quickly in recent years due to the country’s undertaking of large projects and a high private consumption demand, and for 2020 they were led by motor cars, radio-telephony transmission tools, electronics equipments, medicine and jewellery.

Kuwait exports to a wide number of countries, the main ones being Saudi Arabia (16% of all exports), China (14%), United Arab Emirates (13%), India (12%) and Iraq (9%). Kuwait’s largest suppliers are China (18%), the United States (8.6%), the UAE (8.3%) and Japan with 5.9% (Trading Economics, 2022). Imports from other Gulf countries have increased since joining the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).

The county’s exports largely depend on its oil output and global oil prices. In 2020, export of goods decreased from 64.4 billion USD in 2019 to 40.1 billion USD in 2020 while imports decreased from 33.5 billion USD in 2019 to 27.7 billion USD in 2020. This figure is low compared to 2013-14, when the country exported more than double this value. Kuwait has a structurally positive trade balance; however, the country is a net importer of services. In 2019, Kuwait's trade balance excluding services was USD 35.3 billion against USD 45.7 billion a year earlier. Kuwait has been recording trade surpluses since 1993 due to shipments of oil. The country recorded a trade surplus of 2649.20 Million KWD (8.76 billion USD) in the second quarter of 2021 (Central Bank of Kuwait, 2022).

 
Foreign Trade Values 20162017201820192020
Imports of Goods (million USD) 31,45533,57335,86433,57427,738
Exports of Goods (million USD) 46,03255,01571,93864,48340,116
Imports of Services (million USD) 26,23927,18035,38828,65017,464
Exports of Services (million USD) 5,5274,7227,5617,4806,703

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20152016201720182019
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 98.796.297.8103.198.2
Trade Balance (million USD) 27,99320,05425,64845,71135,361
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 10,252-7652,72716,99413,180
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 6.84.29.2-0.9n/a
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -0.92.5-4.8-4.8n/a
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 44.948.546.645.644.9
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 53.847.651.257.553.3

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20212022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -1.06.83.43.23.1
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 12.66.52.02.02.0

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
Kuwait is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council alongside Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The country is also part of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), a pact of the Arab League entered into force in January 2005 which aims to form an Arabic free trade area.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2020
Saudi Arabia 1.7%
China 1.5%
United Arab Emirates 1.4%
India 1.3%
Iraq 1.0%
See More Countries 93.2%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2020
China 17.4%
United States 8.5%
United Arab Emirates 8.2%
Japan 5.9%
Saudi Arabia 5.8%
See More Countries 54.1%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

40.2 bn USD of products exported in 2020
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 71.3%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 13.4%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 4.5%
Sulphonated, nitrated or nitrosated derivatives of...Sulphonated, nitrated or nitrosated derivatives of hydrocarbons, whether or not halogenated 1.7%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 1.3%
See More Products 7.8%
28.3 bn USD of products imported in 2020
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 9.0%
Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line...Electrical apparatus for line telephony or line telegraphy, incl. line telephone sets with cordless handsets and telecommunication apparatus for carrier-current line systems or for digital line systems; videophones; parts thereof 4.8%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 4.1%
Tubes, pipes and hollow profiles, seamless, of...Tubes, pipes and hollow profiles, seamless, of iron or steel (excl. products of cast iron) 1.8%
Articles of jewellery and parts thereof, of...Articles of jewellery and parts thereof, of precious metal or of metal clad with precious metal (excl. articles > 100 years old) 1.7%
See More Products 78.6%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Actualitzacions: September 2022

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