Portugal’s Top 10 Exports

Portugal's Top 10 Exports

Lisbon, Portugal’s capital

A southwest European nation sharing its eastern border with Spain and its western coastline with the Atlantic Ocean, Portugal shipped US$68.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 7.2% increase since 2014 and a 10.1% uptick from 2017 to 2018.

From a continental perspective, over three-quarters (77.1%) of Portuguese exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries. Smaller percentages were sold to international clients in Africa (6.9%), North America (6.1%), Asia (4.9%), Latin America (2.3%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean then Oceania (0.4%) led by Australia.

Given Portugal’s population of 10.4 million people, its total $68.7 billion in 2018 exported goods translates to roughly $6,600 for every resident in the southwest European country.

In macroeconomic terms, Portugal’s total exported goods represent 20.9% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($329.2 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 20.9% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 24.2% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Portugal’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Portugal also provided $37.7 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 11.7% 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. Portugal’s unemployment rate was 6.8% at March 2019 down from 7.9% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.

Portugal’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

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

  1. Vehicles: US$9.3 billion (13.6% of total exports)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: $5.6 billion (8.2%)
  3. Mineral fuels including oil: $4.9 billion (7.1%)
  4. Machinery including computers: $4.2 billion (6.1%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: $3.6 billion (5.2%)
  6. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $2.6 billion (3.8%)
  7. Paper, paper items: $2.3 billion (3.4%)
  8. Footwear: $2.3 billion (3.4%)
  9. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $2.3 billion (3.3%)
  10. Articles of iron or steel: $1.9 billion (2.8%)

Portugal’s top 10 exports accounted for 56.9% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Led by international sales of motor cars, vehicles represent the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories thanks to its 34.5% boost in value from 2017 to 2018.

In second place for improving export sales was the paper and items made from paper category which gained 11.2% year over year.

The third-fastest increase was the 10.3% growth for items made from iron or steel.

Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Portugal’s Most Valuable Export Products further down below.

Advantages

The following types of Portuguese 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 represent 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. Footwear: US$1.3 billion (Down by -0.8% since 2017)
  2. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $1.3 billion (Up by 4.9%)
  3. Cork, articles of cork: $1 billion (Up by 9.8%)
  4. Paper, paper items: $1 billion (Up by 12.9%)
  5. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $929.8 million (Up by 2.8%)
  6. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $720.1 million (Up by 2.3%)
  7. Ceramic products: $655.3 million (Up by 4.3%)
  8. Woodpulp: $626 million (Up by 1.1%)
  9. Ores, slag, ash: $609.4 million (Up by 24.5%)
  10. Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $572.2 million (Up by 9.1%)

Portugal has highly positive net exports in the international trade of shoes and other footwear. Partly due to Portugal’s relatively small population, these cashflows indicate Portugal’s strong competitive advantages under the footwear product category.

Opportunities

Overall Portugal posted a trade deficit equaling -$20.1 billion for 2018, up 28.6% from -$15.7 billion one year earlier.

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

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$5.8 billion (Up by 28.6% since 2017)
  2. Machinery including computers: -$4.1 billion (Up by 36.6%)
  3. Pharmaceuticals: -$1.9 billion (Up by 26.2%)
  4. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$1.8 billion (Up by 116.2%)
  5. Vehicles: -$1.7 billion (Down by -37.9%)
  6. Iron, steel: -$1.4 billion (Up by 19.4%)
  7. Fish: -$1.3 billion (Up by 12%)
  8. Meat: -$1.1 billion (Up by 17.4%)
  9. Other chemical goods: -$1 billion (Up by 25%)
  10. Cereals: -$877.5 million (Up by 11.2%)

Portugal has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related products, particularly for crude oil and petroleum gases.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Portugal’s competitive disadvantages in the international energy market, but also represent key opportunities for Portugal to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.

Companies

Portuguese Export Companies

According to Forbes Global 2000 rankings, the following are examples of leading Portuguese companies:

  • EDP-Energias de Portugal (electric utilities)
  • Galp Energia (oil, gas)
  • Jeronimo Martins (food retailer)
  • Banco Comercial Portugues (regional banks)
  • Portugal Telecom (telecommunications services)

The Russian-Portuguese Business Club lists Portugal’s biggest employers involved in international trade:

  • Petrogal (oil, gas)
  • Volkswagen Autoeuropa (automobiles)
  • Portucel Soporcel (paper)
  • Philip Morris International (tobacco)
  • Delphi Automotive (automotive parts)


 

Portugal’s capital city is Lisbon.

Searchable List of Portugal’s Most Valuable Export Products

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, Portugal’s top export products are refined petroleum oils followed by automotive parts or accessories, cars then leather footwear.

The following searchable table displays 200 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Portugal during 2018. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2017.

RankPortugal's Export Product2018 Value (US$)Change
1Cars$4.1 billion+69.6%
2Processed petroleum oils$4 billion+6.6%
3Automobile parts/accessories$3.6 billion+15.5%
4Footwear (leather)$2 billion+2.2%
5Uncoated paper for writing/printing$1.4 billion+7.2%
6Rubber tires (new)$1.1 billion+2.8%
7T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$1 billion+5.8%
8Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$1 billion+3.3%
9Wine $946.8 million+7.7%
10Trucks$913.2 million+29%
11Medication mixes in dosage$904.5 million-3.3%
12Miscellaneous furniture$900.7 million+9.4%
13Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$877.2 million+13.6%
14Moulding boxes/base$789.2 million+3.8%
15Insulated wire/cable$784 million-3%
16Telecommunication receivers$766.3 million+3.5%
17Speed/distance meters$744.8 million+93.5%
18Olive oil$679 million+21.4%
19Cigars/cigarellos, cigarettes$650 million+15.7%
20Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$637.3 million+12.3%
21Linens$616.1 million+10.2%
22Agglomerated cork$594.6 million+9.4%
23Articles made from natural cork$550.6 million+9.9%
24Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$520.5 million+8.2%
25Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$505.1 million+23.8%
26Miscellaneous plastic items$477.4 million+12.4%
27Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$462.2 million+5.5%
28Bottles, flasks, jars, pots$440.4 million+6.1%
29Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods$412.4 million+5.4%
30Amino-resins$401.7 million+2.9%
31Ethylene polymers$379.6 million-3.2%
32Electrical energy$372.3 million+10.3%
33Taps, valves, similar appliances$353.7 million+9.2%
34Lower-voltage switches, fuses$352 million+11.4%
35Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$347.5 million+6.9%
36Integrated circuits/microassemblies$331.5 million+2.5%
37Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$323.6 million-2.4%
38Miscellaneous iron or steel items$323.1 million+22.2%
39Coiled iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods$321 million+28.7%
40Temperature-change machines$306.8 million+6.7%
41Bridge structures, parts$305.3 million+18.1%
42Piston engine parts$303.1 million+0.8%
43Unglazed ceramic flags, tiles$289.6 million+0.5%
44Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$283.4 million+9.1%
45Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$280.2 million+13.7%
46Phone system devices $279.6 million+19.3%
47Women's clothing (knit or crochet)$278.2 million+4.6%
48Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles$276.9 million+12%
49Copper ores, concentrates$276.8 million-13.4%
50Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)$275.6 million+33.4%
51Radar, radio communication items$274.7 million-30.1%
52Aircraft parts$274.6 million+13.9%
53Moluscs$274 million+15.7%
54Whole fish (frozen)$272.5 million+14.8%
55Zinc ores, concentrates$269.6 million+97.2%
56Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)$269.1 million+8.3%
57Electric water heaters, hair dryers$255.1 million+0.6%
58Polycarboxylic acids$248.5 million+114,945%
59Monument/building stones, art$247.7 million+8.4%
60Tomatoes (prepared/preserved)$245.4 million+2.3%
61Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$245 million+4.4%
62Acyclic hydrocarbons$242.8 million-31.3%
63Other measuring/testing machines$240.2 million+1.5%
64Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$224.7 million+7.6%
65Electric generating sets, converters$220.9 million+30.6%
66Air or vacuum pumps$212 million+3.6%
67Uncoated kraft paper$210.6 million+21.8%
68Tableware, kitchenware, other household items$209.1 million+15.1%
69Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$209 million+16.6%
70Twine, cordage, ropes, cables$206.3 million-10%
71Electric motor parts$204.1 million+1.1%
72Vulcanized rubber items$200.8 million+5.4%
73Locks, lock-keys$197.3 million+0.7%
74Textile fabrics with plastics$196.9 million+27.8%
75Refrigerators, freezers$194.2 million-1.8%
76Vinyl chloride polymers$193.1 million+3.9%
77Miscellaneous machinery$192.8 million+19.6%
78Miscellaneous aluminum items$190.4 million+22.2%
79Iron or steel scrap$190.3 million+28.1%
80Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)$186.5 million-17.4%
81Paper containers, cellulose wadding$185.1 million+5.7%
82Aluminum bars/rods$182.2 million+8.8%
83Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms$174 million-23.5%
84Fresh or dried citrus fruit$173.2 million+26.1%
85Ceramic sinks, washbasins$173.1 million-1.4%
86Tissues, napkins, toilet paper$172.2 million+24.7%
87Electrical converters/power units$169.3 million-13%
88Mattresses, quilts$167.1 million+1.8%
89TV/radio/radar device parts$158.2 million-32.6%
90Stockings, hosiery (knit or crochet)$157.5 million+0.1%
91Whole fish (fresh)$156 million-8.8%
92Wood carpentry, builders' joinery$155.9 million+0.4%
93Gold (unwrought)$154.5 million-19.1%
94Plastic tableware, kitchenware, toiletry$154 million+4.9%
95Malt beer$153.8 million-13.6%
96TV receivers/monitors/projectors$152.2 million+73.9%
97Copper waste, scrap$143.5 million+13.9%
98Men's shirts (knit or crochet)$134.3 million+15.2%
99Electric ignition/start equipment$134.3 million-5.4%
100Cases, handbags, wallets$132.9 million+13.8%
101TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$132.5 million+12.5%
102Apples, pears (fresh)$131 million-7.4%
103Men's shirts (not knit or crochet)$130.1 million+2.3%
104Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$129.2 million+106.3%
105Sugar (cane or beet)$128.6 million+9.1%
106Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$128.4 million+5.4%
107Concrete/artificial stone items$128.1 million-10.1%
108Public-transport vehicles$126.6 million-9.7%
109Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$125.3 million+2.3%
110Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)$124.3 million+2.4%
111Petroleum gases$123.8 million+37.7%
112Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$123.6 million+6.9%
113Iron and steel stranded wire, cables (uninsulated)$123.4 million+4.9%
114Electric storage batteries$121.7 million+1.6%
115ALERT!$121.2 million+15.8%
116Iron or non-alloy steel products (semi-finished)$119.3 million-17.4%
117Miscellaneous engines, motors$118.1 million+13.3%
118Motorcycle parts/accessories$116.8 million+13.5%
119Printing machinery$116.6 million-4.8%
120Natural cork$114.6 million+73.1%
121Iron and steel stranded wire, cables (insulated)$114.2 million+27.1%
122Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates$113.7 million+2.9%
123Hydraulic cements$113 million-8.8%
124Paint/varnish non-aqueous solution$112.7 million+13.5%
125Live bovine cattle$111.6 million+16.6%
126Other prepared/preserved vegetables (non-frozen)$111.5 million+5.3%
127Crustaceans (including lobsters)$111.1 million+8.5%
128Glassware for indoor purposes$110.9 million+9.5%
129Iron/steel containers for gas$110.8 million+6%
130Rosin/resin acids, run gums$110.7 million+2.3%
131Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)$110.4 million-7.7%
132Footwear (rubber or plastic)$107.9 million-4.9%
133Fiberboard from ligneous materials$107.3 million+12.2%
134Base metal mountings, fittings$106 million+9.5%
135Men's suits,trousers (knit or crochet)$105.1 million+11.6%
136Non-alcoholic drinks (not water/juice/milk)$105.1 million+17.6%
137Particle board, other ligneous materials$101.6 million+5.1%
138Calcereous monument/building stone like marble$100.3 million+39.3%
139Fuel wood, wood chips, sawdust$100.1 million+12.6%
140Other organic cleaning preparations$99.8 million+1.1%
141Amine-function compounds$98 million+1.1%
142Ball, roller bearings$98 million+40.1%
143Animal guts, bladders, stomachs$97 million+16.3%
144Sort/screen/washing machinery$95.5 million+46.5%
145Machinery parts$94.9 million+23.6%
146Synthetic staple fiber woven fabrics$94 million+18%
147Iron and steel tanks, drums, boxes$93.8 million-10.1%
148Stainless steel bars, rods$93.6 million+20%
149Medication mixes not in dosage$93.3 million-37.6%
150Aircraft, spacecraft$93 million-56.8%
151Electric motors, generators$92.5 million-7.3%
152Prepared adhesives, glues$92 million+4.6%
153Liquid pumps and elevators$91.4 million-0.4%
154Soya-bean oil$90.9 million-19.8%
155Interchangeable hand/machine tools$90.7 million+5%
156Fish fillets, pieces$90.4 million-12.3%
157Other animal leather$89.9 million+4.7%
158Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters$88.9 million+15.2%
159Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$88.9 million+29.2%
160Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$88 million+6.4%
161Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$86.9 million+23%
162Coffee$86.9 million+0%
163Computers, optical readers$86.5 million-16.4%
164Uncoated paper$85.3 million+42.8%
165Woven cotton fabrics$85.1 million-6.9%
166Derricks, cranes$84.6 million+20.1%
167Chemical woodpulp (dissolving)$83.5 million-5.9%
168Swine meat$83.1 million-9.8%
169Woven pile/chenille fabrics$83 million+11.3%
170Wrist/pocket watches (no precious metal case)$83 million+22.9%
171Flour/meal/starch/malt extract food preparations$82.7 million+2.8%
172Butter, other milk fats/oils$81.1 million-3.5%
173Sawn wood$79.6 million+19.9%
174Personal toilet/shaving preparations, deodorants$78.6 million+11.7%
175Cyclic hydrocarbons$78.3 million+1.5%
176Synthetic filament tow$76.2 million+5.3%
177Iron or non-alloy steel wire$75.8 million+22.6%
178Other than warp-knit fabrics$75.6 million-9.7%
179Infant clothing (knit or crochet)$74.7 million-4.5%
180Aluminum waste, scrap$74.1 million+19.6%
181Knitted/crocheted women's shirts, blouses$73.2 million-3.5%
182Miscellaneous live plants$72.6 million+20.4%
183Miscellaneous fresh/chilled vegetables$71.8 million+9.7%
184Porcelain/China household articles$71.2 million+18.5%
185Wrist/pocket watches (precious metal case)$70.9 million+7.8%
186Miscellaneous nuts$70.8 million-9.1%
187Frozen vegetables$70.6 million+12%
188Dried/salted/smoked fish$70.6 million+3.5%
189Fertilizer mixes$69.3 million+17.3%
190Not concentrated/unsweetened milk, cream$69 million-5.6%
191Footwear (textile)$68.9 million-8.4%
192Trailers$66.6 million+5.5%
193Miscellaneous preserved fruits$66.5 million-5%
194Other food preparations$66.2 million+18.1%
195Biodiesel$66.2 million+20.6%
196Lifting/loading machinery$65.9 million-15.3%
197Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$63.9 million+13.6%
198Insoles, heel cushions$63.8 million+10%
199Tomatoes (fresh/chilled)$62.9 million+3%
200Technical-use textile items$62.8 million+17.5%

These 200 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$57.9 billion or 84.5% by value for all products exported from Portugal during 2018.

See also Portugal’s Top Trading Partners and Portugal’s Top 10 Imports

Research Sources:
Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 20, 2019

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 29, 2019

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 20, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on June 29, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 20, 2019

Russian-Portuguese Business Club, Top 10 Portuguese companies – the largest exporters and importers. Accessed on February 20, 2019

Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 29, 2019

Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 29, 2019