Sweden’s Top 10 Exports

Sweden’s Top 10 Exports

by Flagpictures.org

A Scandinavian nation in Northern Europe surrounded by Norway to its west, Finland to its east and connected to Denmark via a tunnel that connects its southwest to Denmark, the Kingdom of Sweden shipped US$166 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 0.8% increase since 2014 and an 8.4% gain from 2017 to 2018.

From a continental perspective, 71.6% of Swedish exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 13.2% were sold to Asian importers. Sweden shipped another 7.6% to North America. Smaller percentages went to buyers in Africa (1.8%), Latin America (1.4%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (1.2%) led by Australia.

Given Sweden’s population of 10 million people, its total $166 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $16,500 for every resident in the north European nation.

In macroeconomic terms, Sweden’s total exported goods represent 30.6% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2018 ($542 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 30.6% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2018 compares to 36.5% for 2014, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Sweden’s total economic performance. And while this article focuses on exported goods, it is interesting to note that Sweden also provided $73.1 billion worth of exports-related services to global customers for an additional 13.5% 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. Sweden’s unemployment rate was 6.8% at May 2019 up from 6.5% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.

Sweden’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

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

  1. Machinery including computers: US$27.1 billion (16.4% of total exports)
  2. Vehicles: $24.9 billion (15%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $14.9 billion (9%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $13.2 billion (8%)
  5. Paper, paper items: $9 billion (5.4%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: $8.7 billion (5.2%)
  7. Iron, steel: $7.3 billion (4.4%)
  8. Plastics, plastic articles: $5.7 billion (3.5%)
  9. Fish: $4.7 billion (2.9%)
  10. Wood: $4.3 billion (2.6%)

Sweden’s top 10 exports accounted for almost three-quarters (72.3%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Propelled by growing shipments of refined petroleum oils, the fastest-growing top export category for Sweden was mineral fuels including oil up 34.1% from 2017 to 2018.

In second place were vehicles (up 19.7%), trailed by Sweden’s exported fish (up 18.4%) then machinery including computers (up 15.6%).

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 Sweden’s Most Valuable Export Products below.


The following types of Swedish 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. Paper, paper items: US$7.2 billion (Up by 3.4% since 2017)
  2. Vehicles: $5.1 billion (Up by 161.8%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $4.4 billion (Up by 4.8%)
  4. Pharmaceuticals: $4 billion (Up by 14.6%)
  5. Woodpulp: $2.4 billion (Up by 30.8%)
  6. Ores, slag, ash: $2.3 billion (Down by -4.7%)
  7. Iron, steel: $1.8 billion (Down by -14.2%)
  8. Wood: $1.78 billion (Down by -19.3%)
  9. Gems, precious metals: $816.9 million (Down by -15.4%)
  10. Copper: $692.2 million (Up by 26.9%)

Sweden has highly positive net exports in the international trade of pulp and paper. In turn, these cashflows indicate Sweden’s strong competitive advantages under the paper and related products category.


Overall Sweden incurred a -$4.1 billion trade deficit for 2018, swelling 452.1% from the -$750.7 million in red ink one year earlier.

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

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$7 billion (Up by 24.7% since 2017)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$5.2 billion (Up by 58.8%)
  3. Articles of iron or steel: -$1.6 billion (Up by 94.8%)
  4. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$1.4 billion (Up by 12.2%)
  5. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$1.3 billion (Up by 14.2%)
  6. Inorganic chemicals: -$1.2 billion (Up by 46.7%)
  7. Fruits, nuts: -$1.1 billion (Up by 7.2%)
  8. Meat: -$1 billion (Up by 4.1%)
  9. Rubber, rubber articles: -$993.3 million (Up by 14.8%)
  10. Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$896.4 million (Up by 34.2%)

Sweden has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for crude oil, coal and petroleum gases.

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


Swedish Export Companies

Twenty-six corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Swedish companies that Forbes included:

  • Alfa Laval (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
  • Assa Abloy (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
  • Atlas Copco (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
  • Autoliv (automotive parts)
  • Electrolux Group (household appliances)
  • Ericsson (communications equipment)
  • Hexagon (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
  • Sandvik (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
  • SCA (household, personal care)
  • SKF Group (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
  • Volvo Group (heavy equipment)
  • According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following smaller exporters from Sweden:

    • Bulten Sweden (automotive parts, screws/bolts/nuts)
    • First Cargo Sweden (automobiles, bicycles, rubber tires)
    • Gelita Sweden (gelatin, salted/smoked meat, peptones/other proteins)
    • Kappahl (textile footwear, clothing)
    • Kendrion Hagalund (automotive parts, smoking tobacco, titanium dioxide pigments)


    Searchable List of Sweden’s Most Valuable Export Products

    At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, Sweden’s top export products are cars, refined petroleum oils and medication mixes in dosage followed by automobile parts or accessories, mobile phones then fresh whole fish.

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

    RankSweden's Export Product2018 Value (US$)Change
    1Cars$11.6 billion+29.1%
    2Processed petroleum oils$10 billion+29.5%
    3Medication mixes in dosage$6.7 billion+8.3%
    4Automobile parts/accessories$5.6 billion-1.1%
    5Phone system devices including smartphones$4.5 billion-2.6%
    6Whole fish (fresh)$3.8 billion+19%
    7Sawn wood$3.3 billion+6.3%
    8Coated paper$2.9 billion+5.5%
    9Engines (diesel)$2.5 billion+7.5%
    10Iron ores, concentrates$2.4 billion+4.4%
    11Chemical woodpulp (non-dissolving)$2.2 billion+32.7%
    12Uncoated kraft paper$2.2 billion+3.4%
    13Trucks$2.1 billion+24.6%
    14Tractors$2 billion-8.5%
    15Computers, optical readers$2 billion+13.9%
    16Machinery parts$1.6 billion+8%
    17Electrical energy$1.6 billion+40.7%
    18Blood fractions (including antisera)$1.5 billion+29.2%
    19Uncoated paper for writing/printing$1.5 billion+5%
    20Insulated wire/cable$1.4 billion+28.6%
    21Flat-rolled stainless steel items$1.4 billion+13.3%
    22Miscellaneous furniture$1.4 billion+1.6%
    23Flat-rolled other alloy steel products$1.2 billion+4.6%
    24Electrical converters/power units$1.2 billion-4.1%
    25Turbo-jets$1.2 billion+1%
    26Fork-lift trucks$1.1 billion+2.4%
    27Temperature-change machines$1.1 billion+3.9%
    28Miscellaneous machinery$1 billion+18.5%
    29Ethylene polymers$1 billion-3.5%
    30Automobile bodies$970.4 million+3.1%
    31Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$928.8 million+12.9%
    32TV receivers/monitors/projectors$870.9 million+6.9%
    33 Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines $823.6 million+5.6%
    34Physical/chemical analysis tools$784.8 million+2.5%
    35Refined copper, unwrought alloys$766.5 million+7.6%
    36Hormones, miscellaneous steroids$753.9 million+1.8%
    37Liquid pumps and elevators$747 million-2.1%
    38Refrigerators, freezers$743 million+18.6%
    39Move/grade/scrape/boring machinery$732.1 million+26.2%
    40Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$731.3 million+56%
    41Miscellaneous plastic items$712.9 million+3.3%
    42Taps, valves, similar appliances$712.1 million+4.8%
    43Other diagnostic/lab reagents$704.2 million+5.1%
    44Pneumatic hand tool$702.3 million+11.4%
    45Chassis fitted with engine$695.1 million+3%
    46Nuclear reactors, fuel elements$645.7 million-5.5%
    47Gold (unwrought)$634.7 million-4.9%
    48Lifting/loading machinery$633.9 million+2.2%
    49Alloy steel bars, rods$627.4 million+7.7%
    50Electro-medical equipment (e.g. xrays)$626.4 million+5.2%
    51Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)$546.8 million+5.6%
    52Copper wire$544.2 million+15.4%
    53Electric water heaters, hair dryers$537.1 million+8.9%
    54Cellulose fiber paper$533.9 million-1.1%
    55Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$531.1 million+20.1%
    56Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$525.5 million+4.7%
    57Lower-voltage switches, fuses$518.4 million-6.1%
    58Zinc ores, concentrates$517.2 million-2.8%
    59Vulcanized rubber items$516.1 million+5.6%
    60Ball, roller bearings$509.1 million+13.5%
    61Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)$506.7 million+3.8%
    62Miscellaneous iron or steel items$502.6 million+18.9%
    63Cermet plates, sticks, tips$500.2 million+13.9%
    64Pig iron granules, powders$495.3 million+7.6%
    65Piston engine parts$492.9 million+13.3%
    66Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$492.3 million+4.5%
    67Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$484.9 million-11.3%
    68Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners$476.7 million+3%
    69Iron or steel scrap$462.3 million+11.1%
    70Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$460.5 million+1.3%
    71Other food preparations$460.2 million+12.9%
    72Orthopedic appliances$457.5 million+12.1%
    73Piston engines$454.9 million-15.6%
    74Fish fillets, pieces$454.7 million+8.4%
    75Newsprint (rolls or sheets)$444.1 million+19.2%
    76Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$443.6 million+22.2%
    77Miscellaneous engines, motors$442.9 million+11.3%
    78Wood carpentry, builders' joinery$412.4 million-4.3%
    79Fibrous cellulosic pulp-making machines$409.3 million-6.2%
    80Tissues, napkins, toilet paper$396.8 million+4.8%
    81Microphones/headphones/amps$395.4 million+14.2%
    82TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras$384.5 million-2.5%
    83Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$384.3 million+7.8%
    84Chemical industry products/residuals$377.1 million+14%
    85Aluminum plates, sheets, strips$377 million+9.8%
    86Aluminum (unwrought)$374.2 million-9.3%
    87Other machine parts, accessories$371.9 million-5.6%
    88Other organic cleaning preparations$370 million+2.1%
    89Chocolate, other cocoa preparations$366.5 million+6.7%
    90Electric storage batteries$361.5 million+6.4%
    91Metal soldering/hot-spray equipment$360.4 million-8%
    92Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs$359.7 million-1.3%
    93Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings$357.6 million+13.8%
    94Petroleum gases$355.9 million+37.9%
    95Initiators/accelerators, catalytic preps$355.6 million+23.4%
    96Prefabricated buildings$350.7 million+55.8%
    97Interchangeable hand/machine tools$350.2 million+10.1%
    98Radar, radio communication items$335.5 million-7.8%
    99Dried/salted/smoked fish$326.9 million+6.2%
    100Margarine$324.7 million+2.1%
    101Printing machinery$320.3 million+6.5%
    102Sort/screen/washing machinery$320.3 million+27%
    103Iron or steel tubes, pipes$315.2 million+7.2%
    104Washing machines$309.4 million+12.9%
    105Air conditioners$307.8 million+9.2%
    106Other measuring/testing machines$303.4 million+8.3%
    107Flat-rolled stainless steel items (thin)$297.4 million+9.8%
    108Chemical woodpulp (dissolving)$297.2 million+3.5%
    109Paint/varnish non-aqueous solution$297.2 million+4.5%
    110Electric sound/visual signal bells or alarms$295.5 million+12.5%
    111Pipe/chewing/snuff tobaccos$295.4 million+17.6%
    112Unrecorded sound media$289.3 million-30.9%
    113Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$287.4 million+0.1%
    114Electric motors, generators$287.2 million+13%
    115Agriculture/forestry soil cultivation machinery$285.2 million+28.2%
    116Natural polymers$283 million+6.1%
    117Base metal mountings, fittings$276.5 million+2.3%
    118Aircraft parts$275.4 million-8.6%
    119Air or vacuum pumps$263.4 million-5.3%
    120Vinyl chloride polymers$262.9 million+3.4%
    121Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches$262 million+5.3%
    122Silver (unwrought)$258.7 million-19%
    123Cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$257.4 million+5%
    124Aluminum bars/rods$250.1 million+9.5%
    125Agriculture/forestry/poultry/bee machinery$248.8 million-7.1%
    126Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$247.4 million+7.4%
    127Uncoated paper$243.4 million-2.2%
    128Computer parts, accessories$243 million+1.6%
    129Iron ferroalloys$242.7 million-8.3%
    130Polymer-based ion exchangers$240.9 million-2.5%
    131Paint/varnish aqueous solution$239.7 million+6.3%
    132TV/radio/radar device parts$236.7 million+10.9%
    133Liquid/gas checking instruments$232.6 million+4.4%
    134Regulate/control instruments$230.2 million-6.1%
    135Semi-chemical woodpulp$228.2 million+29.1%
    136Stainless steel ingots$227.3 million+19.7%
    137High-voltage switches, fuses$223.9 million-17.3%
    138Paper containers, cellulose wadding$221.2 million+9.3%
    139Plastic tile or roll coverings$218.7 million+0%
    140Trailers$218.4 million+14.7%
    141Aluminum waste, scrap$216.9 million+21.4%
    142Acrylic polymers$214.1 million+1.2%
    143Machinery for making semi-conductors$213.9 million+45.7%
    144Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations$213 million+15.4%
    145Petroleum oil residues$211.4 million-9.1%
    146Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$208.8 million+8.7%
    147Sports equipment$204.8 million-5.2%
    148Footwear (leather)$200.4 million+8.7%
    149Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$200.1 million+20.5%
    150Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$199.7 million+7.8%
    151Household/sanitary rolls$197.4 million+6.2%
    152Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances$196.1 million+2.8%
    153Glass fibers$196 million+0.3%
    154Milking/dairy machinery$191.3 million-0.2%
    155Iron or steel pipe fittings$188.6 million+15.6%
    156Coated/laminated non-wovens$186.9 million+3.6%
    157Precious metal waste, scrap$186.4 million-1.9%
    158Stainless steel bars, rods$184.8 million+24.8%
    159Copper waste, scrap$182.7 million+11.4%
    160Railway/tram locomotives, rolling stock$181.6 million-15.6%
    161Rubber tires (new)$179.9 million+14.9%
    162Aluminum foil (thin)$178.7 million+9.3%
    163Table games, bowling equipment$178.3 million+13.3%
    164Lead (unwrought)$175.6 million-11.1%
    165Mattresses, quilts$175.5 million-0.1%
    166Concentrated/sweetened milk, cream$174.6 million-11.2%
    167Aircraft, spacecraft$169.2 million+57.5%
    168Harvest/threshing machinery$168.7 million+16.5%
    169Cases, handbags, wallets$167.5 million+14.3%
    170Integrated circuits/microassemblies$166.3 million-8.8%
    171Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$160.3 million+9.9%
    172Electrical machinery$158.8 million-8.7%
    173Amino-compounds (oxygen)$155.6 million+0.4%
    174Sauce, mixed condiments, seasonings$154.6 million+4%
    175Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$153.1 million+4.9%
    176Solar power diodes/semi-conductors$153.1 million+30.8%
    177Coffee$150.1 million-4.2%
    178Electric generating sets, converters$144.9 million-34.2%
    179Stainless steel bars, rods (coiled)$144.1 million+11.6%
    180Non-alcoholic drinks (not water/juice/milk)$142.6 million+39.3%
    181Glaze/graft putty, cement, filling$142.5 million+4.2%
    182Dried organs, heparin$141 million+24.2%
    183Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$138.7 million+4.2%
    184Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$138 million+11.6%
    185Models, puzzles, miscellaneous toys$137.5 million+45.9%
    186Ethyl alcohol$136.9 million-11.3%
    187Vulcanized rubber plates, sheets, strips$136.3 million+9.6%
    188Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools$136.2 million-5.1%
    189Packaged dressings$135.9 million+6.5%
    190T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$134.8 million+5.9%
    191Paper/paperboard making machinery$134.3 million+4%
    192Other fermented beverages$133.8 million-17.2%
    193Lamps/tubes/valves assembly machines$133.2 million+6.1%
    194Hair preparations$130.2 million+20%
    195Survey/hydro/weather instruments$125.8 million+14.8%
    196Cellulose/chemical derivatives$125.5 million-8.6%
    197Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)$125 million+4.4%
    198Brooms, brushes$124.9 million+1%
    199Hand saws, blades$123.8 million+5.8%
    200Hydrometers, thermometers$123.1 million+9.7%

    These 200 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$138.1 billion or more than four-fifths (83.2%) by value for all products exported from Sweden during 2018.

    Sweden’s capital city is Stockholm.

    See also Sweden’s Top 10 Imports, Sweden’s Top Trading Partners and European Union’s Top 10 Exports

    Research Sources:
    Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 21, 2019

    International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 28, 2019

    Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 21, 2019

    Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on June 28, 2019

    Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 28, 2019

    Wikipedia, List of Companies of Sweden. Accessed on March 21, 2019

    Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 28, 2019

    Wikipedia, Sweden. Accessed on March 21, 2019

    Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on April 13, 2016