The Kingdom of Spain shipped $333.6 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a 20% gain since 2015 and a 1.6% uptick from 2018 to 2019.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the euro appreciated by 0.9% against the US dollar since 2015 but declined by -5.5% from 2018 to 2019. The weaker EU currency in 2019 made Spain’s exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers compared to 2018.
Spain is located on western Europe’s Iberian Peninsula and bordered by Portugal to its northwest, France and Andorra to its northeast and whose southern region features Europe’s only shared border with an African nation namely Morocco.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 68.1% of products exported from Spain were bought by importers in: France (15.3% of the global total), Germany (10.8%), Italy (7.8%), Portugal (7.4%), United Kingdom (6.9%), United States (4.6%), Netherlands (3.3%), Belgium (2.9%), Morocco (2.8%), China (2.3%), Poland (2.2%) and Switzerland (1.7%).
From a continental perspective, 69.9% of Spain exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 10.5% were sold to Asian importers. Spain shipped another 6.7% worth of goods to North America. Smaller percentages went to Africa (6.3%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (3.7%) then Oceania led by Australia (0.6%).
Given Spain’s population of 46.7 million people, its total $333.6 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $7,200 for every resident in the west European nation.
Spain’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Spanish global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Spain.
- Vehicles: US$55.9 billion (16.8% of total exports)
- Machinery including computers: $24.7 billion (7.4%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $23.8 billion (7.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $18.5 billion (5.6%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $13 billion (3.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $12.6 billion (3.8%)
- Fruits, nuts: $10.3 billion (3.1%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $8.9 billion (2.7%)
- Meat: $8.2 billion (2.5%)
- Iron, steel: $8 billion (2.4%)
Spain’s top 10 exports accounted for 55.1% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Meat was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 24% since 2018. In second place for improving export sales were pharmaceuticals: thanks to a 9% improvement. Spain’s shipments of mineral fuels including oil posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 8.8% year over year.
The leading decliner among Spain’s top 10 export categories was iron and steel via a -7% drop year over year.
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 Spain’s Most Valuable Export Products further down below.
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 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.
- Vehicles: US$8.8 billion (Down by -12.4% since 2018)
- Fruits, nuts: $6.8 billion (Up by 5.3%)
- Meat: $6.6 billion (Up by 31.9%)
- Vegetables: $6.1 billion (Up by 9%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $3.2 billion (Up by 31.3%)
- Ceramic products: $3.2 billion (Up by 0.3%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $2.9 billion (Down by -1.9%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $2.9 billion (Down by -15%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $2.2 billion (Up by 6.9%)
- Railways, streetcars: $2 billion (Up by 44.8%)
Spain has highly positive net exports particularly for cars and also trucks. In turn, these cashflows indicate Spain’s strong competitive advantages under the vehicles product category.
Spain incurred an overall -$38.3 billion trade deficit during 2019. That negative trade balance represents a -19.6% decrease from the -$47.7 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Spain that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits during 2018. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Spain’s goods trail Spanish importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$26.3 billion (Down by -23.9% since 2018)
- Machinery including computers: -$12 billion (Up by 5.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$11.6 billion (Up by 16.9%)
- Organic chemicals: -$7.3 billion (Up by 19.8%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$5.6 billion (Up by 2.5%)
- Fish: -$3.3 billion (Down by -5.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$3.3 billion (Down by -12.4%)
- Cereals: -$3.2 billion (Down by -2%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$2.8 billion (Up by 4.4%)
- Ores, slag, ash: -$2.3 billion (Down by -27.6%)
Spain has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for crude oil, petroleum gases and coal under the mineral fuels including oil category.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Spain’s competitive disadvantages in the international market for mineral fuels-related products, but also represent key opportunities for Spain to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations in cleaner alternative energy sources.
Spanish Export Companies
Twenty-seven corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Spanish companies that Forbes included:
- Abertis (other transportation)
- Ferrovial (other transportation)
- Grifols (biotech products)
- Repsol YPF (oil, gas)
- Telefónica (telecommunications services)
According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following smaller companies are also examples of Spanish export companies.
- Mahou Sa (malt beer, wine, vodka)
- Nemak Spain (internal combustion engines, vehicle parts and accessories)
- Repsol (oil)
- Telefónica (telecommunications equipment)
Searchable List of Spain’s Most Valuable Export Products
At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, the following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Spain during 2019. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2018.
|Rank||Spain's Export Product||2019 Value (US$)||Change|
|2||Processed petroleum oils||$15,550,608,000||-5.3%|
|4||Medication mixes in dosage||$9,373,388,000||+11.5%|
|7||Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)||$3,723,689,000||+8.9%|
|9||Fresh or dried citrus fruit||$3,586,097,000||-1.8%|
|11||Unglazed ceramic flags, tiles, cubes||$3,159,684,000||-1.9%|
|14||Rubber tires (new)||$2,392,539,000||-6.2%|
|16||Miscellaneous fresh/chilled vegetables||$2,314,672,000||+4.6%|
|17||Blood fractions (including antisera)||$2,309,386,000||-7.6%|
|18||Perfumes, toilet waters||$2,284,765,000||+6.2%|
|19||Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)||$1,934,551,000||+1.8%|
|21||Miscellaneous iron and steel structures||$1,912,089,000||-5.6%|
|23||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$1,666,871,000||+4.3%|
|25||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$1,601,061,000||-6%|
|26||Railway/tramway coaches, vans, trucks||$1,600,503,000||+102.7%|
|29||Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)||$1,541,338,000||-5.8%|
|30||Iron or non-alloy steel angles, shapes, sections||$1,495,603,000||-12.3%|
|31||Taps, valves, similar appliances||$1,448,419,000||-4.2%|
|32||Copper ores, concentrates||$1,434,920,000||-34.7%|
|34||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$1,418,361,000||+2.4%|
|38||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$1,329,739,000||-1.6%|
|40||Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)||$1,255,462,000||-9.5%|
|41||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$1,244,099,000||+10.4%|
|42||Phone system devices including smartphones||$1,231,647,000||+34.6%|
|43||Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations||$1,224,680,000||+11.5%|
|44||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$1,198,614,000||-5.4%|
|45||Apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums||$1,197,759,000||-6.7%|
|46||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$1,190,156,000||-3.2%|
|47||Cases, handbags, wallets||$1,169,031,000||+1.2%|
|50||Other prepared/preserved vegetables (non-frozen)||$1,100,553,000||-0.7%|
|52||Flat-rolled stainless steel items||$1,046,933,000||-10.2%|
|53||Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters||$1,042,163,000||-5.8%|
|54||Transmission shafts, gears, clutches||$1,041,788,000||-12.3%|
|55||Electrical converters/power units||$1,036,826,000||-2.2%|
|56||Tomatoes (fresh, chilled)||$1,036,480,000||-5.4%|
|57||Electric generating sets, converters||$1,033,915,000||-27.4%|
|58||Miscellaneous plastic items||$1,023,515,000||+4.8%|
|63||Pigments, enamels, glazes||$980,961,000||-12.5%|
|64||Other organic cleaning preparations||$976,549,000||-2.2%|
|66||Women's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)||$945,149,000||+1.6%|
|67||Electric storage batteries||$940,225,000||-6.9%|
|68||Table games, bowling equipment||$930,359,000||+2.6%|
|69||Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)||$922,841,000||-1.5%|
|70||Petroleum oil residues||$920,221,000||-22.8%|
|71||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$909,896,000||-0.7%|
|72||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$905,986,000||+18.4%|
|74||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$901,623,000||-5.1%|
|75||Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)||$894,828,000||-15.1%|
|76||Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs||$889,340,000||-3.6%|
|77||Lettuce (fresh, chilled)||$885,310,000||+0.6%|
|78||Centrifuges, filters and purifiers||$877,826,000||+18.1%|
|79||Refined copper, unwrought alloys||$875,098,000||-22.4%|
|80||Piston engine parts||$870,588,000||-9.6%|
|82||Liquid pumps and elevators||$843,229,000||-4.4%|
|83||Whole fish (frozen)||$833,826,000||-10.8%|
|84||Melons, watermelons, papayas||$831,611,000||-4.8%|
|85||Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines||$807,904,000||-1.8%|
|86||Cellulose fiber paper||$807,831,000||+3.1%|
|87||Fruit and vegetable juices||$807,238,000||-11.5%|
|88||Miscellaneous animal feed preparations||$799,353,000||-2.3%|
|89||Aluminum plates, sheets, strips||$786,694,000||-7.8%|
|90||Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)||$768,574,000||+5.1%|
|91||Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)||$768,111,000||+16.9%|
|94||Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches||$759,303,000||+5.4%|
|95||Computers, optical readers||$756,682,000||+2.7%|
|96||Coiled iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods||$750,654,000||-11.7%|
|97||Concrete/artificial stone items||$743,465,000||+0.7%|
|98||Other food preparations||$729,885,000||+1.2%|
|99||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$724,526,000||+8.7%|
|100||Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings||$713,850,000||+3.1%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$203.8 billion or approaching two-thirds (61.1%) by value for all products exported from Spain during 2019.
In macroeconomic terms, Spain’s total exported goods represent 17.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2019 ($1.941 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 17.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2019 compares to 18.5% one year earlier. This seems to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Spain’s total economic performance, albeit based on a very short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Spain’s average unemployment rate was 13.941% in 2019 down from 15.255% for 2018, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Spain’s capital city is Madrid.
See also Spain’s Top 10 Imports and Spain’s Top Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 19, 2020
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 19, 2020
IMPORTERS.com The Online Market for G20 Importers, Spain Import Export Directory. Accessed on February 19, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 19, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 19, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 19, 2020
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on February 19, 2020
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Spain. Accessed on February 19, 2020
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on February 19, 2020
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on February 19, 2020