Luxembourg’s Top 10 Exports

Luxembourg's Top 10 Exports


A landlocked Western European nation surrounded by economic powerhouses Germany, France and Belgium, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg shipped US$16.2 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 9.6% improvement since 2014 and a 16.1% uptick from 2017 to 2018.

From a continental perspective, $13.7 billion or about 85% of Luxembourg exports by value were delivered to fellow European nations. Another 5.6% was sold to importers in Asia, trailed by 3.8% shipped to North America. Smaller percentages of Luxembourg’s international sales of goods went to Africa (1.4%), Latin America (0.7%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (0.2%) led by Australia and New Zealand.

Given Luxembourg’s population of 605,764 people, its total $16.2 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $26,800 for every resident in the Western European country.

In macroeconomic terms, Luxembourg’s total exported goods represent 25.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($64.2 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 25.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 29.9% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Luxembourg’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Luxembourg also provided $113.1 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 176.1% of GDP in PPP. These metrics include a significant amount of re-exporting activity.

Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Luxembourg’s unemployment rate was 5.5% at May 2019 up from 5.3% in October 2018, according to Trading Economics.

Luxembourg’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Luxembourg global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Luxembourg.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$2.1 billion (12.7% of total exports)
  2. Iron, steel: $2 billion (12.6%)
  3. Plastics, plastic articles: $1.5 billion (9.2%)
  4. Vehicles: $1.2 billion (7.5%)
  5. Electrical machinery, equipment: $1.1 billion (7%)
  6. Articles of iron or steel: $863.6 million (5.3%)
  7. Rubber, rubber articles: $782.4 million (4.8%)
  8. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $626.3 million (3.9%)
  9. Aluminum: $523 million (3.2%)
  10. Dairy, eggs, honey: $485.4 million (3%)

Luxembourg’s top 10 exports accounted for over two-thirds (69.3%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Optical, technical and medical apparatus improved at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018 thanks to its 214.9% gain.

In second place was the electrical machinery and equipment category (up 49.5%) trailed by iron or steel as metals (up 19.8%) then plastics and items made from plastic (up 15.1%).

The sole decliners was Luxembourg’s exports of aluminum via its -0.2% setback year over year.

At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Luxembourg’s most valuable exported products are iron or non-alloy steel angles, shapes and sections (6.5% of total), new rubber tires (3.8%), cars (3.6%), iron or sheet piling (2.8%), electro-medical equipment including xray machines, plated or coated flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (2.4%), mobile phones (2.3%) then cellulose fiber paper (also 2.3%).


The following types of Luxembourg 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 is 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.

  1. Iron, steel: US$446.4 million (Up by 16.6% since 2017)
  2. Articles of iron or steel: $311 million (Up by 9.1%)
  3. Glass: $256.4 million (Up by 35.6%)
  4. Felt, yarn, twine, ropes, cables: $210.2 million (Down by -6.1%)
  5. Rubber, rubber articles: $190.4 million (Up by 7.9%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $130.8 million (Up by 26.1%)
  7. Coated/laminated textile fabric: $126.8 million (Up by 8.7%)
  8. Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $71.6 million (Down by -20.6%)
  9. Dairy, eggs, honey: $67.4 million (Up by 6.2%)
  10. Tanning, dyes, paints, varnishes, ink: $58.9 million (Up by 90.2%)

Luxembourg has highly positive net exports in the international trade of iron or steel. In turn, these cashflows indicate Luxembourg’s strong competitive advantages under the iron or steel category.


Luxembourg incurred an overall -$7.7 billion trade deficit during 2018, up by 8.5% from -$7.1 billion in red ink one year earlier.

Below are exports from Luxembourg that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Luxembourg’s goods trail Luxembourg importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$2.4 billion (Up by 33.8% since 2017)
  2. Vehicles: -$2.1 billion (Up by 13.1%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$591.1 million (Up by 4.4%)
  4. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$378.9 million (Up by 23.8%)
  5. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$320.6 million (Up by 12.2%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: -$268.6 million (Down by -26.7%)
  7. Inorganic chemicals: -$261 million (Up by 34.3%)
  8. Aircraft, spacecraft: -$260.5 million (Down by -62.6%)
  9. Fruits, nuts: -$216.2 million (Up by 2.8%)
  10. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$174.5 million (Up by 5.7%)

Luxembourg has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for refined petroleum oils under the mineral fuels including oil category.


Luxembourg Export Companies

Seven corporations based in Luxembourg rank among Forbes Global 2000, including the bank Espirito Santo Financial. Below are the other major Luxembourg companies that Forbes included:

  • ArcelorMittal (iron, steel)
  • Millicom International (telecommunications)
  • RTL Group (broadcasting, cable)
  • SES (broadcasting, cable)
  • Tenaris (oil services, equipment)
  • Ternium (iron, steel)

Wikipedia also lists companies from Luxembourg, many of which are significant international trade players.

  • Brasserie Nationale (brewery)
  • Cargolux (cargo airliner)
  • Ceratizit (hard metals)
  • ROTAREX Group (medical equipment)


Luxembourg’s capital is Luxembourg City.

See also Luxembourg’s Top Trading Partners and Top EU Export Countries

Research Sources:
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 1, 2019

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 2, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 1, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on July 2, 2019

Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 2, 2019

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Luxembourg. Accessed on April 1, 2019

Wikipedia, Luxembourg. Accessed on April 1, 2019

Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 2, 2019