Nicaragua’s exports grew 17.5% in 2012 to finish the year with a record-setting $2.78 billion in sales, not including free-trade zone products, according to the Center for Export Processing (CETREX).
While many export products benefited from sustained commodity prices, which on average increased slightly last year, Nicaragua also increased its total export volume by 16.2% from 2011.
Coffee reclaimed its former position at the top of Nicaragua’s export list in 2012, accounting for $519 million in sales last year. In 2011, coffee ranked second to beef, which last year slipped to third place. Gold came in second place last year, netting $431 million in sales in 2012, according to CETREX.
Nicaraguan beef exports dipped in volume last year despite increasing in average price per pound. The decrease in trade volume was enough to knock beef from first to third on the list of Nicaragua’s top grossing exports.
Rounding out Nicaragua’s top 10 export products by revenue in 2012 are: sugarcane ($209 million), dairy products ($172 million), peanuts ($132 million), shrimp ($106 million), beans ($51 million), petroleum derivatives ($50 million) and seafood ($47 million).
The United States remains Nicaragua’s main trading partner, buying about 29% of the country’s exports last year. Venezuela, Canada, El Salvador and Costa Rica round out the top five markets for Nicaraguan exports.
The Nicaraguan government aims to increase its exports to $3 billion this year, according to Sandinista media sources.