Spain’s Top 10 Exports

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The Kingdom of Spain shipped US$345.2 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects an 8.3% gain since 2014 and an 8% uptick from 2017 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.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Spain’s exported goods plus services represent 34.1% of total Spanish economic output or Gross Domestic Product. That percentage includes re-exporting activity. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, well over two-thirds (69.4%) of Spanish exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 10.6% were sold to Asian importers. Spain shipped another 6.5% worth of goods to North American clients with 6.3% going to Africa. Even smaller percentages went to Latin America (3.8%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, or Oceania (less than 1%) led by Australia.

Given Spain’s population of 49.3 million people, its total $345.2 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $7,000 for every resident in the west European nation.

Spain’s unemployment rate was 14.45% at December 2018 down from 16.55% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.

Spain’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

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

  1. Vehicles: US$58.9 billion (17.1% of total exports)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: $26.7 billion (7.7%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $25.3 billion (7.3%)
  4. Electrical machinery, equipment: $19.5 billion (5.7%)
  5. Plastics, plastic articles: $13.6 billion (3.9%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: $12.3 billion (3.6%)
  7. Fruits, nuts: $10.4 billion (3%)
  8. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $9.1 billion (2.6%)
  9. Iron, steel: $8.7 billion (2.5%)
  10. Articles of iron or steel: $8.5 billion (2.5%)

Spain’s top 10 exports accounted for 55.9% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories thanks to its 51.5% from 2017 to 2018, led by higher international revenues from refined petroleum oils.

A distant second for Spain’s improving export sales was the iron and steel metals category which gained 22.8%. Electrical machinery and equipment garnered a 17% uptick, ahead of the 15.8% increase for Spain’s exported 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 Spain’s Most Valuable Export Products further down below.

At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Spain’s most valuable exports are cars (10.3% of total) trailed by refined petroleum oils (4.8%), automotive parts or accessories (3.4%), drugs and medicines (2.5%), trucks (1.9%), pork (1.2%), fresh or dried citrus fruit (1.1%) then olive oil (1%) and wine (also 1%).

Advantages

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.

  1. Vehicles: US$9.2 billion (Down by -20.4% since 2017)
  2. Fruits, nuts: $6.9 billion (Up by 10.4%)
  3. Vegetables: $5.9 billion (Up by 8.4%)
  4. Meat: $5.1 billion (Up by 5.6%)
  5. Articles of iron or steel: $3.4 billion (Up by 18.4%)
  6. Ceramic products: $3.2 billion (Up by 7.2%)
  7. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $3.1 billion (Up by 19.9%)
  8. Aircraft, spacecraft: $2.4 billion (Up by 194%)
  9. Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $2.1 billion (Up by 9.1%)
  10. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $2 billion (Down by -11.9%)

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.

Opportunities

Spain incurred an overall -$42.9 billion trade deficit during 2018. That negative trade balance represents a 37% increase from the -$31.3 billion in red ink one year earlier.

Below are exports from Spain that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits during 2017. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Spain’s goods trail Spanish importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$29.9 billion (Up by 7.4% since 2017)
  2. Machinery including computers: -$12.3 billion (Up by 30.7%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$10.3 billion (Up by 12.6%)
  4. Organic chemicals: -$6.3 billion (Up by 21.8%)
  5. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$5.7 billion (Up by 14.2%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: -$4.1 billion (Up by 56.6%)
  7. Fish: -$3.6 billion (Up by 5.3%)
  8. Cereals: -$3.3 billion (Up by 21.2%)
  9. Ores, slag, ash: -$3.2 billion (Up by 22.1%)
  10. Iron, steel: -$2.9 billion (Up by 20.2%)

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.

Companies

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)


 

Spain’s capital city is Madrid.

Searchable List of Spain’s Most Valuable Export Products

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, Spain’s top export products are cars, refined petroleum oils, auto parts or accessories, drugs and medicines followed by trucks then olive oil.

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

RankSpain's Export Product2018 Value (US$)Change
1Cars$35.6 billion-0.6%
2Processed petroleum oils$16.4 billion+29.1%
3Automobile parts/accessories$11.7 billion+8.2%
4Medication mixes in dosage$8.5 billion+10.5%
5Trucks$6.5 billion+9%
6Swine meat$4 billion-0.8%
7Fresh or dried citrus fruit$3.7 billion+2.4%
8Olive oil$3.6 billion-13.5%
9Wine $3.5 billion+7.4%
10Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$3.5 billion+11.9%
11Aircraft, spacecraft$3.4 billion-9.4%
12Unglazed ceramic flags, tiles$3.2 billion+6.7%
13Aircraft parts$2.9 billion+10.2%
14Insulated wire/cable$2.5 billion+13%
15Blood fractions (including antisera)$2.5 billion+0.3%
16Rubber tires (new)$2.5 billion+17.4%
17Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$2.3 billion+16.4%
18Miscellaneous fresh/chilled vegetables$2.2 billion+8.2%
19Copper ores, concentrates$2.2 billion+6%
20Perfumes, toilet waters$2.2 billion+21.2%
21Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$2 billion+12.4%
22Miscellaneous fruits (fresh)$1.9 billion+9.9%
23Footwear (leather)$1.8 billion+7.5%
24Iron or non-alloy steel angles, shapes, sections$1.7 billion+14.2%
25Lower-voltage switches, fuses$1.7 billion+4.5%
26Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)$1.6 billion+8.2%
27Engines (diesel)$1.6 billion-12.5%
28Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$1.6 billion+3.4%
29Ethylene polymers$1.6 billion+4.7%
30Miscellaneous furniture$1.6 billion+5.4%
31Taps, valves, similar appliances$1.5 billion+10.5%
32Biodiesel$1.5 billion+10.8%
33T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$1.4 billion+2.8%
34Electric generating sets, converters$1.4 billion-9.3%
35Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$1.4 billion+5%
36Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$1.4 billion+16.8%
37Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$1.3 billion+1.9%
38Gold (unwrought)$1.3 billion+2.1%
39Apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums$1.3 billion+4.5%
40Miscellaneous iron or steel items$1.3 billion+9.5%
41Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$1.2 billion+10.7%
42Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$1.2 billion+18.5%
43Petroleum oil residues$1.2 billion+22.8%
44Aluminum bars/rods$1.2 billion+17.4%
45Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$1.2 billion+13.6%
46Flat-rolled stainless steel items$1.2 billion+5.7%
47Cases, handbags, wallets$1.2 billion+10.2%
48Piston engines$1.1 billion+45.9%
49Propylene/olefin polymers$1.1 billion+18.8%
50Refined copper, unwrought alloys$1.1 billion+5.4%
51Lifting/loading machinery$1.1 billion+7.7%
52Pigments, enamels, glazes$1.1 billion+13.7%
53Zinc (unwrought)$1.1 billion-1.2%
54Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$1.1 billion+17.1%
55Other prepared/preserved vegetables (non-frozen)$1.1 billion+1.8%
56Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters$1.1 billion+8%
57Tomatoes (fresh/chilled)$1.1 billion-2.2%
58Moluscs$1.1 billion+13.6%
59Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)$1.1 billion+2.9%
60Turbo-jets$1.1 billion-40.6%
61Electrical converters/power units$1.1 billion+41.1%
62Machinery parts$1 billion+2.3%
63Other organic cleaning preparations$1 billion+6.9%
64Electric storage batteries$1 billion+9.4%
65Miscellaneous machinery$995.8 million+6.6%
66Miscellaneous plastic items$983.6 million+2%
67Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)$974.8 million+15.6%
68Piston engine parts$967 million+11.6%
69Carbon electrodes, brushes$955 million+245.8%
70Electric water heaters, hair dryers$953.6 million+9.7%
71Tractors$950.8 million-24.9%
72Phone system devices including smartphones$940.7 million+10.5%
73Whole fish (frozen)$934.2 million+2.7%
74Women's clothing (knit or crochet)$933.5 million+13.8%
75Women's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)$931.6 million+3.8%
76Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$928 million+3.7%
77Copper wire$919.2 million-3%
78Fruit and vegetable juices$916.5 million+11.2%
79Iron or steel tubes, pipes$909.4 million+29.4%
80Table games, bowling equipment$898.9 million+9.4%
81Lettuce$889.2 million+9.6%
82Liquid pumps and elevators$882.6 million+22.2%
83Melons, watermelons, papayas$866.5 million+24.7%
84Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$852.6 million+7.5%
85Coiled iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods$826.6 million+41.2%
86Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$822.3 million+6.3%
87 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $821.7 million+6.9%
88Miscellaneous nuts$802.9 million+16.6%
89Railway/tram coaches, vans, trucks$785.7 million+14.8%
90Cellulose fiber paper$784.4 million+7.9%
91Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$774.7 million+19.3%
92Electrical energy$770.3 million-22.5%
93Crude oil$761.7 million+13.2%
94Other food preparations$755.9 million+11.6%
95Computers, optical readers$745.1 million-6.9%
96Aluminum (unwrought)$743.9 million-4.5%
97Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$743.9 million+10.7%
98Concrete/artificial stone items$737.9 million+24.3%
99Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$733.8 million+18.3%
100Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$729.1 million+15.2%
101Petroleum gases$718.4 million+27.4%
102Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches$708.2 million+15.4%
103Cucumbers$707.3 million+10.2%
104Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$695.8 million+12.1%
105Air conditioners$695.4 million+31.5%
106Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$692.5 million-6.7%
107Frozen vegetables$690 million+9.1%
108Vulcanized rubber items$682 million+10.8%
109Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays)$674.5 million+6%
110Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$665.4 million+22%
111Interchangeable hand/machine tools$660 million-3.4%
112Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing$656.7 million+11.1%
113Electric ignition/start equipment$653.5 million+37.4%
114Footwear (textile)$650.1 million+1.8%
115Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$643.6 million+28.3%
116Fresh or chilled beef$642.9 million+13.5%
117Chemical industry products/residuals$637.4 million+11.9%
118Printed books, brochures$635.4 million+8.5%
119Copper waste, scrap$634.2 million+17.8%
120Air or vacuum pumps$622 million+9.1%
121Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$618.3 million+10.9%
122Hair preparations$612.2 million+4.7%
123Salted/dried/smoked meat$610.2 million+11.6%
124Paper containers, cellulose wadding$610 million+13.1%
125Printing machinery$596.1 million+23.9%
126Miscellaneous engines, motors$595.7 million+0.1%
127Electric motor parts$594.4 million+7.4%
128Footwear (rubber or plastic)$592.1 million+6.2%
129Whole fish (fresh)$585.9 million+11%
130Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)$585.5 million+7.3%
131Cheese, curd$585.1 million+14%
132Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$565.5 million+16.4%
133Cabbages, cauliflowers, kale$564 million+4.3%
134Temperature-change machines$563.8 million-23.4%
135Medication mixes not in dosage$561 million-23.5%
136Refrigerators, freezers$550.7 million+4.4%
137Amino-resins$546.1 million-8.2%
138Uncoated paper$539.1 million+15.6%
139Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods$535.9 million-1.5%
140Miscellaneous preserved fruits$532.9 million-1.6%
141Dates/figs/pineapples/mangoes/avocadoes/guavas$522.5 million+8.6%
142Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys$522 million+8%
143Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$512 million+4.2%
144Miscellaneous aluminum items$511.9 million-2.1%
145Fertilizer mixes$510 million+13.1%
146Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$508 million+14.1%
147Sports equipment$507.8 million+17.6%
148Stoppers, caps, lids, crown corks$505.6 million0%
149Miscellaneous cast iron or steel items$494.5 million+34.9%
150Sausages$488.6 million+5.6%
151Fish fillets, pieces$484.1 million+13.5%
152Men's shirts (not knit or crochet)$481.3 million+5.3%
153Crustaceans (including lobsters)$477 million+4.8%
154Onions, garlic, leeks$476.2 million-6%
155Paint/varnish non-aqueous solution$473 million+15.4%
156Men's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)$472.8 million+11.6%
157Automobile bodies$470.1 million+180.2%
158Coffee/tea extracts, concentrates$467.8 million+17.6%
159Other diagnostic/lab reagents$467.4 million+29.8%
160Styrene polymers$459.4 million+2.4%
161Personal toilet/shaving preparations, deodorants$459.1 million+14.9%
162Base metal mountings, fittings$457 million+10.6%
163Stainless steel bars, rods$456.9 million+36.1%
164Jewelry$455.9 million+14.8%
165Vegetable saps, extracts$450.5 million+22.1%
166Coated paper$448.3 million+12.7%
167Derricks, cranes$447.4 million+4%
168Polycarboxylic acids$443.7 million+19.2%
169Electric motors, generators$443.2 million+11.6%
170Synthetic yarn woven fabrics$442.9 million+7.2%
171Tomatoes (prepared/preserved)$440.2 million+10.6%
172Hydraulic cements$437.8 million-0.9%
173Railway/tram locomotives, rolling stock$434.3 million+10.9%
174Regulate/control instruments$434.1 million-9.3%
175Acyclic hydrocarbons$429.2 million+35%
176Iron or steel pipe fittings$427.3 million+2.4%
177Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$423.7 million+30%
178Poultry meat$422.7 million+20.9%
179Miscellaneous live plants$404.7 million+18.4%
180Live bovine cattle$402.2 million+22.9%
181Bombs, grenades, ammunition$399.9 million+19.3%
182Public-transport vehicles$398.1 million+26%
183Monument/building stones, art$396.7 million+2.9%
184Grapes (fresh or dried)$394.3 million+21.9%
185Prepared roasted cereal foods$393.9 million+9.5%
186Polyamides$391.6 million+26.2%
187Antibiotics$390.3 million+3.6%
188Trailers$390 million+26.5%
189Coated/laminated non-wovens$389.8 million+12.6%
190Cyclic hydrocarbons$388.6 million-2.9%
191Sort/screen/washing machinery$387.7 million+1.6%
192Other measuring/testing machines$386.7 million+12.5%
193Locks, lock-keys$382.8 million+17.5%
194Red meat offal$381.8 million-5.6%
195Iron and steel tanks, drums, boxes$380.2 million+11.6%
196Alloy steel bars, rods$376.5 million+35.7%
197Synthetic organic coloring$375.6 million+4.1%
198Integrated circuits/microassemblies$375.3 million+22.3%
199Orthopedic appliances$374.4 million+11%
200Aluminum oxide/hydroxide$371.4 million+22.2%

These 200 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$260.2 billion or three-quarters (75.4%) by value for all products exported from Spain during 2018.

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

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

IMPORTERS.com The Online Market for G20 Importers, Spain Import Export Directory. Accessed on November 23, 2015

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 20, 2019

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

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 20, 2019

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Spain. Accessed on March 20, 2019

Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 20, 2019