Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, Austria uses the euro which appreciated by 2% against the US dollar since 2016 and rose by 3.1% from 2019 to 2020. The stronger EU currency in 2020 made Austria’s exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive for international buyers compared to 2019.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 73.8% of products exported from Austria were bought by importers in: Germany (29.9% of the global total), United States (6.2%), Italy (6.1%), Switzerland (5.4%), France (4.2%), Slovakia (4.1%), Poland (3.8%), Czech Republic (3.4%), Hungary (3.4%), United Kingdom (2.8%), China (2.7%) and Netherlands (2%).
From a continental perspective, 80% of Austria’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 9.4% were sold to importers in Asia. Austria shipped another 7.7% worth of goods to North America. Smaller percentages went to Africa (1.2%), Oceania led by Australia (0.8%) then Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.9%).
Given Austria’s population of 8.9 million people, its total $168.5 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $18,900 for every resident in the Central European nation.
Austria’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Austrian global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Austria.
- Machinery including computers: US$28.9 billion (17.2% of total exports)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $18.9 billion (11.2%)
- Vehicles: $16.4 billion (9.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $11.8 billion (7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $7.5 billion (4.4%)
- Iron, steel: $5.8 billion (3.5%)
- Wood: $5.3 billion (3.1%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $5.2 billion (3.1%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $4.8 billion (2.9%)
- Paper, paper items: $4.5 billion (2.7%)
Austria’s top 10 exports accounted for almost two-thirds (64.7%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Electrical machinery and equipment was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 16.4% from 2019 to 2020. The only other two top categories to gain were wood (up 6.1%) and pharmaceuticals (up 4.6%).
The leading decliner among Austria’s top 10 export categories was iron and steel thanks to a -17.8% 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 Austria’s Most Valuable Export Products below.
The following types of Austrian 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.
- Machinery including computers: US$6.1 billion (Down by -17% since 2019.)
- Pharmaceuticals: $3.8 billion (Up by 5.4%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $2.5 billion (Up by 8%)
- Iron, steel: $2.3 billion (Down by -23.3%)
- Paper, paper items: $2.2 billion (Down by -12.5%)
- Wood: $2.1 billion (Down by -4.9%)
- Other base metal goods: $1.6 billion (Up by 0.1%)
- Manmade staple fibers: $835 million (Down by -25.3%)
- Railways, streetcars: $802.5 million (Up by 18%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: $498.4 million (Up by 15.7%)
Austria has highly positive net exports in the international trade of machines including computers. In turn, these cashflows indicate Austria’s strong competitive advantages under the machinery including computers category.
Austria incurred an overall -$3.7 billion trade deficit for 2020, down -27.7% from -$5.1 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Austria that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Austria’s goods trail Austrian importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US-$6.2 billion (Down by -37.3% since 2019.)
- Organic chemicals: -$2.2 billion (Down by -21.3%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$1.8 billion (Down by -2.9%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$1.8 billion (Down by -2.5%)
- Vehicles: -$1.4 billion (Up by 33.5%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$1.3 billion (Up by 1.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$1.3 billion (Up by 0.5%)
- Ores, slag, ash: -$1.2 billion (Up by 5.1%)
- Fruits, nuts: -$1 billion (Up by 8%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: -$962 million (Down by -6.5%)
Austria has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for both crude and refined petroleum oils.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Austria’s competitive disadvantages in international mineral fuels-related markets, but also represent key opportunities for Austria to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations particularly in alternative energy sources.
Austrian Export Companies
Ten Austrian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Austrian companies that Forbes included.
- Andritz (other industrial equipment)
- OMV Group (oil, gas)
- STRABAG (construction services)
- Uniqa (diversified insurance)
- Voestalpine (iron, steel)
Wikipedia also lists exporters from Austria. Selected examples are shown below.
- Ams AG (semiconductors)
- Austria Metall (metals)
- Borealis (polyethylene, plastics)
- Bösendorfer (pianos)
- Julius Meinl (coffee)
- KTM (motorcycles)
- OMV (petroleum)
- Red Bull GmbH (beverages)
- Rosenbauer (fire-fighting vehicles)
- Runtastic (smartphone apps)
Searchable List of Austria’s Most Valuable Export Products
The following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Austria during 2020. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2019.
|Rank||Austria's Export Product||2020 Value (US$)||Change|
|2||Blood fractions (including antisera)||$5,517,720,000||+12.2%|
|3||Medication mixes in dosage||$5,503,758,000||+0.2%|
|4||Phone system devices including smartphones||$4,320,538,000||+165.3%|
|6||Non-alcoholic drinks (not water/juice/milk)||$3,294,608,000||+23.9%|
|7||Base metal mountings, fittings||$2,183,519,000||-0.1%|
|9||Electrical converters/power units||$1,881,205,000||+3.8%|
|15||Wood carpentry, builders' joinery||$1,533,930,000||+6.7%|
|17||Computers, optical readers||$1,423,380,000||+77.7%|
|18||Flat-rolled other alloy steel products||$1,317,502,000||-15.8%|
|20||Miscellaneous plastic items||$1,279,731,000||-6.1%|
|21||Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)||$1,162,023,000||+9.8%|
|22||Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)||$1,150,709,000||-14.1%|
|23||Processed petroleum oils||$1,120,064,000||-35.2%|
|24||Miscellaneous iron and steel structures||$1,091,130,000||-8.5%|
|27||Hormones, miscellaneous steroids||$1,015,383,000||+1.4%|
|30||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$1,000,454,000||-14.2%|
|32||Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs||$973,896,000||+5.2%|
|33||Electric motors, generators||$958,264,000||-4.9%|
|35||Machinery for making semi-conductors||$945,762,000||+22.5%|
|36||Refined copper, unwrought alloys||$941,828,000||+18.9%|
|37||Taps, valves, similar appliances||$890,030,000||-1.3%|
|38||Unrecorded sound media||$885,042,000||+7.5%|
|39||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$867,265,000||-0.7%|
|40||Railway or tramway locomotives, rolling stock||$856,682,000||+20.5%|
|41||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$852,803,000||+4.9%|
|42||Particle board, other ligneous materials||$847,056,000||+16.3%|
|44||Solar power diodes/semi-conductors||$837,322,000||+4.2%|
|45||Centrifuges, filters and purifiers||$835,769,000||-43.1%|
|46||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$828,593,000||+1.5%|
|47||Rubber/plastic article making machines||$827,586,000||+6.7%|
|48||Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches||$820,573,000||+6.7%|
|49||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$811,111,000||+0.7%|
|50||Central heating boilers||$802,758,000||+60.3%|
|51||Other measuring/testing machines||$800,829,000||-6.2%|
|52||Miscellaneous animal feed preparations||$796,793,000||+10.1%|
|53||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$794,650,000||-5.2%|
|54||Piston engine parts||$780,790,000||-19.7%|
|55||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$778,638,000||-0.8%|
|57||Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters||$777,214,000||-12.8%|
|61||Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)||$744,776,000||-10.6%|
|62||Pneumatic hand tool||$737,231,000||+7.7%|
|63||Electric storage batteries||$722,232,000||+11.5%|
|64||Transmission shafts, gears, clutches||$719,259,000||-12.3%|
|65||Locomotives/rolling stock miscellaneous parts||$691,860,000||+13.4%|
|66||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$685,198,000||-2.9%|
|68||Aluminum plates, sheets, strips||$659,281,000||-13.2%|
|70||Miscellaneous aluminum items||$650,430,000||-12.7%|
|71||Liquid pumps and elevators||$633,897,000||-20.9%|
|74||Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products||$605,098,000||-14.3%|
|75||Air or vacuum pumps||$601,894,000||-3%|
|78||Ball, roller bearings||$550,159,000||-20.2%|
|79||Uncoated kraft paper||$543,417,000||-10.9%|
|81||Physical/chemical analysis tools||$520,228,000||+0.2%|
|82||Special purpose vehicles||$504,415,000||-5%|
|84||Bridge/tower structures, parts||$489,103,000||+1.3%|
|85||Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers||$485,415,000||+14.7%|
|86||Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings||$475,292,000||+3.8%|
|87||Railway track construction material||$474,913,000||+0.4%|
|88||Uncoated paper for writing/printing||$473,719,000||-15.2%|
|89||Machine tools for nailing, stapling, glueing||$471,742,000||-9.9%|
|92||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$460,486,000||+10.2%|
|93||Electric generating sets, converters||$448,553,000||+5.6%|
|94||Other organic cleaning preparations||$434,816,000||+5.4%|
|97||Other machine parts, accessories||$425,783,000||-11.6%|
|98||Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods||$418,756,000||-16.6%|
|100||Iron or steel tubes, pipes||$411,240,000||-38.8%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$108.1 billion or approaching two-thirds (64.1%) by value for all products exported from Austria during 2020.
In macroeconomic terms, Austria’s total exported goods represent 34.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($493.2 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 34.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 37.3% for 2019. This suggests a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Austria’s total economic performance albeit based on a short timeframe. Please note that these metrics include a significant amount of re-exporting activity.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Austria’s unemployment rate was 9.4% in March 2021, down from 12.8% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.
Austria’s capital city is Vienna.
See also Austria’s Top Trading Partners and Austria’s Top 10 Imports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on April 1, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 1, 2021
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on April 1, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 1, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 1, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 1, 2021
Wikipedia, Austria. Accessed on April 1, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on April 1, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Austria. Accessed on April 1, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on April 1, 2021