That dollar amount reflects a 20.9% gain from 2017 when Finnish exports totaled $67.3 billion.
Year over year, the value of Finland’s exported products accelerated by 24% from $65.6 billion for 2020.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2021, Finland uses the euro which appreciated by 5% against the US dollar since 2017 and strengthened by 3.9% from 2020 to 2021. The stronger European Union currency in 2021 made Finnish exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive for international buyers compared to 2020.
Countries Spending the Most on Products Exported by Finland
The latest available country-specific data shows that 67.1% of products exported from Finland were bought by importers in: Germany (13.2% of the global total), Sweden (10.2%), United States of America (6.6%), Netherlands (6.1%), Russia (5.4%), mainland China (5.2%), Italy (4.2%), United Kingdom (3.6%), Estonia (3.5%), Belgium (3.1%), France (3%) and Poland (2.9%).
From a continental perspective, 71.5% of Finland’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 14.6% were sold to importers in Asia. Finland shipped another 8.5% worth of goods to North America.
Smaller percentages went to Latin America (2.3%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, Africa (2.1%) then Oceania (1.1%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Finland’s population of 5.5 million people, its total $66.1 billion in 2021 exports translates to roughly $14,700 for every resident in the Northern European nation. That dollar metric is much greater than the average $11,900 per capita one year earlier in 2020.
Finland’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Finnish global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Finland.
- Machinery including computers: US$10.4 billion (12.8% of total exports)
- Paper, paper items: $7.9 billion (9.7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $6.2 billion (7.6%)
- Iron, steel: $6.1 billion (7.5%)
- Vehicles: $5.71 billion (7%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $5.68 billion (7%)
- Wood: $4.5 billion (5.5%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $3.5 billion (4.3%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $3.2 billion (3.9%)
- Woodpulp: $3.1 billion (3.8%)
Finland’s top 10 exports accounted for 69.1% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Wood was the fastest grower among Finland’s top 10 export categories, up by 58.9% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place for improving export sales were the metals iron and steel via a 51.1% gain.
Finland’s shipments of woodpulp posted the third-fastest uptick in value, up by 43%.
The only single-digit percentage increase among Finland’s top 10 export categories was the optical, technical and medical apparatus product category thanks to an 8% improvement year over year.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Finland’s most valuable exported product is refined petroleum oils (5.4% of the global total). In second place was coated paper (4.9%) trailed by Finnish exports of cars (4.1%), sawn wood (3.7%), flat-rolled stainless steel items (also 3.7%), non-dissolving chemical woodpulp (3.3%), electro-medical equipment (1.7%) like xrays machines, pulp-making machinery (up 1.6%), electrical converters and power units (up 1.4%).
Products Generating Finland’s Biggest Trade Surpluses
The following types of Finnish 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.
- Paper, paper items: US$7.2 billion (Up by 15.9% since 2020)
- Wood: $3.2 billion (Up by 84%)
- Woodpulp: $3 billion (Up by 46.3%)
- Iron, steel: $2.7 billion (Up by 49.2%)
- Copper: $1.6 billion (Up by 37.1%)
- Ships, boats: $1.24 billion (Down by -6.5%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.18 billion (Up by 4.8%)
- Gems, precious metals: $966.9 million (Up by 17.6%)
- Zinc: $693.4 million (Up by 13.3%)
- Fertilizers: $508.4 million (Up by 95.6%)
Finland has highly positive net exports in the international trade of paper and products made from paper. In turn, these cashflows indicate Finland’s strong competitive advantages under the paper and paper items category.
Products Causing Finland’s Worst Trade Deficits
Finland incurred an overall -$4.7 billion trade deficit for 2021, up by 75.5% from -$2.7 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Finland that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Finland’s goods trail Finnish importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$5.7 billion (Up by 126% since 2020)
- Ores, slag, ash: -$2.5 billion (Up by 59.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$2.3 billion (Up by 41.9%)
- Vehicles: -$2 billion (Up by 28.9%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$1.4 billion (Down by -0.1%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$1.1 billion (Up by 51.6%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$825.9 million (Up by 3.5%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$557.7 million (Down by -3.5%)
- Fruits, nuts: -$552 million (Up by 1%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$528.7 million (Up by 21.3%)
Finland has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the mineral fuels-related products category, particularly for crude oil, electrical energy and coal.
Finland’s Major Export Companies
Twelve Finnish corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of Finland’s major companies that Forbes included.
- Metso (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
- Neste Oil (oil, gas)
- Nokia (communications equipment)
- Outokumpu (iron, steel)
- Stora Enso (paper, paper products)
- UPM-Kymmene (paper, paper products)
- Wärtsilä (heavy equipment)
Wikipedia also lists companies headquartered in Finland that engaged in international trade transactions.
- Altia (alcoholic beverages)
- Fiskars (scissors, gardening tools, kitchenware)
- HKScan (meat products)
- Kemira Oyj (chemicals)
- Metsä Group (wood products, paper)
- Neste (refined petroleum)
In macroeconomic terms, Finland’s total exported goods represent 27.3% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($297.5 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 27.3% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 24.2% for 2020. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Finland’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Finland’s unemployment rate averaged 7.625% in 2021, down from an average 7.758% one year earlier in 2020 according to the International Monetary Fund.
Finland’s capital city is Helsinki.
See also Finland’s Top Imports, Finland’s Top Trading Partners, Germany’s Top Trading Partners, Russia’s Top Trading Partners and Sweden’s Top Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Europe: Finland. Accessed on June 13, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 13, 2022
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on June 13, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 13, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 13, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 13, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 13, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Finland. Accessed on June 13, 2022
Wikipedia, Finland. Accessed on June 13, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 13, 2022