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$153.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017.

That dollar amount reflects a -8.6% drop since 2013 but a 9.8% gain from 2016 to 2017.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Sweden’s exported goods plus services represent 45.5% of total Swedish economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, 71.1% of Swedish exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 13.4% were sold to Asian importers. Sweden shipped another 7.8% to North America with 1.9% worth going to clients in Africa and 1.5% to Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.

Given Sweden’s population of 10 million people, its total $153.1 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $15,400 for every resident in that country.

Sweden’s unemployment rate was 6.3% as of February 2018 down from 7.4% 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 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Sweden.

At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Sweden’s most valuable exported products are motor cars followed by drugs and medicines, auto parts or accessories, mobile phones then fresh whole fish.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$25 billion (16.3% of total exports)
  2. Vehicles: $21.8 billion (14.2%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $14.7 billion (9.6%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $10.7 billion (7%)
  5. Paper, paper items: $8.6 billion (5.6%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: $7.9 billion (5.2%)
  7. Iron, steel: $6.8 billion (4.5%)
  8. Plastics, plastic articles: $5.5 billion (3.6%)
  9. Wood: $4.1 billion (2.7%)
  10. Fish: $4.1 billion (2.6%)

Sweden’s top 10 exports accounted for well over two-thirds (71.3%) 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 appreciating 35.2% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place was Swedish iron and steel (up 24%), trailed by exported vehicles (up 22.9%) and machinery including computers (up 16.5%).

The sole declining category was fish via -5.4% year-over-year setback.


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$6.9 billion (Up by 1.7% since 2016)
  2. Machinery including computers: $4.4 billion (Up by 8.5%)
  3. Pharmaceuticals: $3.5 billion (Up by 21.4%)
  4. Vehicles : $2.4 billion (Up by 488.7%)
  5. Ores, slag, ash: $2.3 billion (Up by 49.6%)
  6. Wood: $2.1 billion (Up by 4.3%)
  7. Iron, steel: $2 billion (Up by 4.3%)
  8. Woodpulp: $1.8 billion (Up by 5.4%)
  9. Gems, precious metals: $913.9 million (Up by 1.6%)
  10. Copper: $539.7 million (Up by 75.7%)

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 product category.


Overall Sweden incurred a -$762.4 million trade deficit during 2017, down by -53.7% from the -$1.6 billion in red ink during 2016.

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$4.9 billion (Up by 4.1% since 2016)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$3.9 billion (Up by 32.5%)
  3. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$1.4 billion (Up by 15.8%)
  4. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$1.3 billion (Up by 14%)
  5. Meat: -$1.1 billion (Up by 12.6%)
  6. Fruits, nuts: -$1 billion (Up by 3.9%)
  7. Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: -$963.2 million (Up by 78.2%)
  8. Articles of iron or steel: -$961.3 million (Up by 114.6%)
  9. Rubber, rubber articles: -$951.1 million (Up by 32.9%)
  10. Dairy, eggs, honey: -$777.7 million (Up by 20.5%)

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)

    Sweden’s capital city is Stockholm.

    Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

    See also Sweden’s Top 10 Imports, Sweden’s Top Trading Partners, Highest Value Swedish Import Products and Highest Value Swedish Export Products

    Research Sources:
    International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 25, 2018

    The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 25, 2018

    Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 25, 2018

    Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 25, 2018

    Wikipedia, List of Companies of Sweden. Accessed on March 25, 2018

    Wikipedia, Sweden. Accessed on March 25, 2018

    Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 25, 2018

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