Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Spain’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $1.636 trillion in 2015.
Therefore, exports accounted for about 17.3% of total Spanish economic output.
From a continental perspective, 68.3% of Spanish exports by value are delivered to European countries while 11.3% are sold to Asian importers. Spain ships another 6.7% worth of goods to North American clients with 6.4% going to Africa.
Given Spain’s population of 48.1 million people, its total $283.3 billion in 2015 exports translates to roughly $5,885 for every resident in that country.
Spain’s unemployment rate was 20.9% as of December 2015, according to Trading Economics.
Spain’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Spanish global shipments during 2015. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Spain.
- Vehicles: US$50.8 billion (17.9% of total exports)
- Machines, engines, pumps: $22.6 billion (8%)
- Oil: $18.5 billion (6.5%)
- Electronic equipment: $16.1 billion (5.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $11.6 billion (4.1%)
- Plastics: $11.1 billion (3.9%)
- Fruits, nuts: $9.3 billion (3.3%)
- Iron or steel products: $7.3 billion (2.6%)
- Iron and steel: $7.1 billion (2.5%)
- Clothing (not knit or crochet): $7 billion (2.5%)
Non-knit and uncrocheted clothing were the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up 37.9% for the 5-year period starting in 2011.
In second place for improving export sales were fruits and nuts which gained 20.7% led by fresh fruits.
Spanish machinery posted the third-fastest uptick up a more modest 2.2%.
The fastest-declining category among the top 10 Spanish exports was iron and steel materials which declined in value by -32.6%.
The following types of Spanish 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.
- Vehicles: US$10.5 billion (Down by -27% since 2011)
- Fruits, nuts: $6.5 billion (Up by 17.3%)
- Vegetables: $5 billion (Up by 19.3%)
- Meat: $3.8 billion (Up by 21.2%)
- Iron or steel products: $3.2 billion (Down by -1.1%)
- Ceramic products: $2.7 billion (Up by 6.4%)
- Alcoholic beverages: $2.4 billion (Up by 28.8%)
- Vegetable/fruit preparations: $1.8 billion (Up by 4.1%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $1.8 billion (Down by -28.8%)
- Animal/vegetable fats and oils: $1.6 billion (Down by -10.4%)
Spain has highly positive net exports in the international trade of cars and trucks. In turn, these cashflows indicate Spain’s strong competitive advantages under the vehicles product category.
Below are exports from Spain that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Spain’s goods trail Spanish importer spending on foreign products.
- Oil: -US$24.6 billion (Down by -55.7% since 2011)
- Electronic equipment: -$8.6 billion (Down by -7.6%)
- Machines, engines, pumps: -$7.4 billion (Down by -0.6%)
- Organic chemicals: -$5.1 billion (Up by 3.7%)
- Medical, technical equipment: -$4.7 billion (Up by 3.5%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$3.7 billion (Up by 4.2%)
- Fish: -$2.7 billion (Down by -14.9%)
- Cereals: -$2.6 billion (Down by -7.7%)
- Knit or crochet clothing: -$2.5 billion (Down by -31%)
- Ores, slag, ash: -$2.3 billion (Down by -39.5%)
Spain has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for crude oil, petroleum gases and coal.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Spain’s competitive disadvantages in the international fossil fuel market, but also represent key opportunities for Spain to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations in clean alternative energy sources.
Spanish Export Companies
Twenty-seven corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000 for 2015. Below is a sample of the major Spanish companies that Forbes included:
- Telefónica (telecommunications services)
- Repsol YPF (oil, gas)
- Ferrovial (other transportation)
- Abertis (other transportation)
- Grifols (biotech products)
According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following smaller companies are also examples of Spanish export companies:
- Nemak Spain (internal combustion engines, vehicle parts and accessories)
- Repsol (oil)
- Telefónica (telecommunications equipment)
- Mahou Sa (malt beer, wine, vodka)
Spain’s capital city is Madrid.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.
See also Spain’s Top 10 Exports, Spain’s Top Import Partners, Fastest-Growing Spanish Export Products and Highest Value Spanish Export Products
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 29, 2016
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 29, 2016
Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 29, 2016
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 29, 2016
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 29, 2016