Sweden’s Top 10 Exports

Sweden’s Top 10 Exports

by Flagpictures.org

Sweden shipped US$139.6 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016, up by 6.4% since 2009 when the Great Recession kicked in but down by -0.5% from 2015 to 2016.

Sweden’s top 10 exports accounted for well over two-thirds (70.9%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Sweden’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $498.1 billion as of October 2016. Therefore, exports accounted for about 28% of total Swedish economic output.

From a continental perspective, 71.1% of Swedish exports by value are delivered to other European countries while 12.9% are sold to Asian importers. Sweden ships another 8.4% to North America with 2.3% worth going to clients in Africa.

Given Sweden’s population of 9.9 million people, its total $139.5 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $14,100 for every resident in that country.

Sweden’s unemployment rate was 7.4% as of February 2017 down from 7.6% 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 2016. 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 number one exported product is motor cars followed by refined petroleum oils then drugs and medicines used for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$22.8 billion (16.3% of total exports)
  2. Vehicles: $18.6 billion (13.3%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $14.6 billion (10.5%)
  4. Mineral fuels including oil: $8.4 billion (6%)
  5. Paper, paper items: $8.3 billion (6%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: $7.2 billion (5.2%)
  7. Iron, steel: $5.6 billion (4%)
  8. Plastics, plastic articles: $5.1 billion (3.6%)
  9. Fish: $4.3 billion (3.1%)
  10. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $4 billion (2.8%)

The fastest-growing top export from Sweden was fish, appreciating 130.1% from 2009 to 2016.

In second place were exported Swedish vehicles (up 82.5%), trailed by iron and steel (up 21.7%) and machinery including computers (up 15.7%).

Leading the decliners were shipments of paper-related products (down -18%) and electrical machinery and equipment (down -17.8%).


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 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.

  1. Paper, paper items: US$6.7 billion (Down by -19.6% since 2009)
  2. Machinery including computers: $4.2 billion (Up by 3.6%)
  3. Pharmaceuticals: $2.9 billion (Down by -32.8%)
  4. Wood: $2 billion (Down by -21.2%)
  5. Iron, steel: $1.8 billion (Up by 18.2%)
  6. Woodpulp: $1.7 billion (Up by 2.9%)
  7. Ores, slag, ash: $1.5 billion (Up by 54.3%)
  8. Gems, precious metals: $848.8 million (Up by 58.5%)
  9. Vehicles : $822.5 million (Up by 264.7%)
  10. Base metal tools, cutlery: $482 million (Up by 22.6%)

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 -$1.2 billion trade deficit during 2016 reversing an $11.2 billion surplus in 2009.

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$4.1 billion (Down by -29.9% since 2009)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$3.3 billion (Down by -222.7%)
  3. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$1.4 billion (Up by 42.5%)
  4. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$1.3 billion (Up by 42%)
  5. Meat: -$1 billion (Up by 20.5%)
  6. Fruits, nuts: -$1 billion (Up by 32.5%)
  7. Inorganic chemicals: -$855.3 million (Down by -17.6%)
  8. Footwear: -$804.1 million (Up by 68.3%)
  9. Rubber, rubber articles: -$803.5 million (Up by 59.9%)
  10. Furniture, bedding, lighting , signs, prefab buildings: -$754.2 million (Down by -289%)

Sweden has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for refined oil, petroleum coke and 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 for 2015. Below is a sample of the major Swedish companies that Forbes included:

  • Ericsson (communications equipment)
  • Volvo Group (heavy equipment)
  • Atlas Copco (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
  • SCA (household, personal care)
  • Sandvik (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
  • Assa Abloy (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
  • Autoliv (automotive parts)
  • SKF Group (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
  • Electrolux Group (household appliances)
  • Alfa Laval (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
  • Hexagon (miscellaneous industrial 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 27, 2017

    The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 27, 2017

    Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 27, 2017

    Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 27, 2017

    Wikipedia, List of Companies of Sweden. Accessed on March 27, 2017

    Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 27, 2017

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