Strategically situated at juncture for multiple European cultural and trade routes, Slovenia shipped US$44.2 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 44.8% rise since 2014 and a 53.7% acceleration from 2017 to 2018.
The latest data shows that 73.3% of products exported from Slovenia were bought by importers in: Germany (18.5% of the global total), Italy (11.6%), Austria (7.3%), Croatia (7.1%), France (4.7%), Poland (4.6%), Hungary (4.5%), Serbia (3.7%), Czech Republic (3.3%), Slovakia (2.9%), Bosnia/Herzegovina (also 2.9%) then Switzerland (2.1%).
From a continental perspective, $39.4 billion or almost nine-tenths (89.1%) of Slovenian exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries. Another 6.5% were sold to importers in Asia. Smaller percentages went to North America (2%), Africa (1.5%), Latin America (0.4%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (0.4%) mainly Australia.
Given Slovenia’s population of 2.1 million people, its total $44.2 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $21,000 for every resident in the south central European nation.
In macroeconomic terms, Slovenia’s total exported goods represent 58.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($76 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 58.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 71.6% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Slovenia’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Slovenia also provided $9.4 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 12.4% 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. Slovenia’s unemployment rate was 7.6% at May 2019 down from 8.3% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.
Slovenia’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Slovenian global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Slovenia.
- Vehicles: US$8.6 billion (19.5% of total exports)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $4.6 billion (10.5%)
- Machinery including computers: $4.4 billion (10%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $3.6 billion (8.2%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $2.2 billion (5%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $1.9 billion (4.4%)
- Iron, steel: $1.8 billion (4%)
- Aluminum: $1.5 billion (3.4%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $1.4 billion (3.2%)
- Wood: $1.2 billion (2.8%)
Slovenia’s top 10 exports accounted for over two-thirds (70.9%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Vehicles was the fastest-growing among Slovenia’s top 10 export categories, up in value by 89.5% from 2017 to 2018.
In second place for improving export sales were iron or steel in metal form, thanks to its 75.1% expansion.
The furniture, bedding, lighting, signs and prefabricated buildings category posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 56.2%.
The slowest-growing top Slovenian export category was pharmaceuticals, up by a still respectable 30.6%.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Slovenia’s most valuable exported product is cars (13.3% of total). In second place were medication mixes in dosage (7.4%), refined petroleum oils (3.2%), auto parts or accessories (3%), electrical energy (1.8%) then trucks (1.6%).
Overall Slovenia garnered a $2 billion trade surplus for 2018, up by 240.3% from $580.7 million in black ink one year earlier.
The following types of Slovenian 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.
- Pharmaceuticals: US$1.7 billion (Up by 8.5% since 2017)
- Vehicles: $1.2 billion (Up by 96.9%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $874.8 million (Up by 7.4%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: $569.1 million (Up by 29.5%)
- Wood: $504.6 million (Up by 64.5%)
- Machinery including computers: $489.1 million (Up by 94.1%)
- Paper, paper items: $375.8 million (Up by 402.2%)
- Aluminum: $248.2 million (Up by 26.1%)
- Tanning, dyes, paints, varnishes, ink: $233.9 million (Up by 13.8%)
- Manmade filaments: $165.7 million (Up by 33.5%)
Slovenia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of drugs and medicines. In turn, these cashflows indicate Slovenia’s strong competitive advantages under the pharmaceuticals product category.
Below are exports from Slovenia that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Slovenia’s goods trail Slovenian importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$1.6 billion (Up by 34.8% since 2017)
- Organic chemicals: -$498.5 million (Up by 21.9%)
- Iron, steel: -$362.3 million (Up by 43.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$280.5 million (Down by -11.9%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$183.7 million (Up by 9.3%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$167 million (Up by 17.9%)
- Inorganic chemicals: -$160.6 million (Up by 14.9%)
- Fruits, nuts: -$139.3 million (Down by -6%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$116.1 million (Down by -9.6%)
- Cereal/milk preparations: -$108.9 million (Up by 10.6%)
Slovenia has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related products, particularly refined oils and petroleum gases.
Slovenian Export Companies
Not one Slovenian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia also lists companies based in Slovenia. Selected examples are shown below:
- Academa (custom software)
- Adria Mobil (motorhomes)
- Akrapovič (motorcycle exhaust systems)
- Alpina Žiri (shoes, boots)
- Gorenje (home appliances)
- Krka (pharmaceuticals)
- Litostroj (heavy machinery)
- Tomos (motorcycles)
Slovenia’s capital city is Ljubljana.
See also Top EU Export Countries, Lithuania’s Top 10 Exports and Croatia’s Top 10 Exports
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 30, 2019
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 29, 2019
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 30, 2019
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on June 29, 2019
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 29, 2019
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Slovenia. Accessed on March 30, 2019
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 29, 2019
Wikipedia, Slovenia. Accessed on March 30, 2019