That dollar amount results from a 6.4% gain from $1.557 trillion during 2018.
Year over year, the overall value of goods exported from Germany rose 1.5% compared to $1.631 trillion for 2021.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2022, the euro depreciated by -12.1% against the US dollar since 2018 and weakened by -12.3% from 2021 to 2022. The weaker European Union currency in 2022 made Germany’s exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively lesser expensive for international buyers.
Germany’s biggest export products by value in 2022 were cars, medication mixes in dosage, automotive parts or accessories, blood fractions including antisera, then processed petroleum oils. In aggregate, those major exports accounted for 21.7% of overall exports sales from Germany. That percentage suggests a relatively diversified range of exported goods.
Germany is a world-leader for exporting cars, drugs and medicines, and automotive parts or accessories. The European nation ranks among the top exporters for international sales of blood fractions including antisera for therapeutic purposes, and aircraft plus spacecraft including aircraft parts.
Germany’s Best International Trade Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 66.9% of products exported from Germany were bought by importers in: United States of America (9.9% of the German total), France (7.3%), Netherlands (6.9%), mainland China (6.8%), Poland (5.7%), Italy (5.6%), Austria (5.2%), United Kingdom (4.7%), Switzerland (4.5%), Belgium (3.9%), Czech Republic (3.3%) and Spain (3.1%).
From a continental perspective, 66.4% of Germany’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 17.6% were sold to Asian importers. Germany shipped another 11.9% worth of goods to North America.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (1.7%), Latin America (1.6%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean then Oceania (0.9%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Germany’s population of 83.3 million people, its total $1.656 trillion in 2022 exports translates to roughly $20,000 for every resident in the European economic hub. That per-capita dollar amount outpaces the average $19,500 one year earlier in 2021.
Germany’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in German global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Germany.
- Vehicles: US$257.5 billion (15.5% of total exports)
- Machinery including computers: $253.3 billion (15.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $176.6 billion (10.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $124.2 billion (7.5%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $78.7 billion (4.8%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $75.1 billion (4.5%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $61.8 billion (3.7%)
- Iron, steel: $37.4 billion (2.3%)
- Other chemical goods: $35.3 billion (2.1%)
- Organic chemicals: $34.2 billion (2.1%)
Germany’s top 10 exports accounted for over two-thirds (68.5%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 43.4% from 2021 to 2022.
In second place for improving export sales were the metals iron and steel via a 13.9% gain.
Germany’s shipments of organic chemicals posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 11.6% year over year.
The leading decliner among Germany’s top 10 export categories was optical, technical and medical apparatus, thanks to a -6.2% drop.
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 Germany’s Most Valuable Export Products further down near the bottom of this article.
Products Generating Best Competitive Advantages
Germany’s overall trade surplus shrank by -59.4% to $84.6 billion for 2022 from $208.3 billion in black ink during 2021.
The following types of German product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus for 2022. 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 reflect 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.
- Vehicles: US$120.6 billion (Up by 7.6% since 2021)
- Machinery including computers: $79.5 billion (Down by -14%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $44.6 billion (Up by 15.1%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $31.7 billion (Down by -9.1%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $18.2 billion (Down by -13.5%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: $17.8 billion (Up by 19.4%)
- Other chemical goods: $10.8 billion (Up by 1%)
- Paper, paper items: $9.5 billion (Up by 14.4%)
- Tanning, dyes, paints, varnishes, ink: $6.3 billion (Down by -7.7%)
- Inorganic chemicals: $4.6 billion (Down by -31.4%)
Germany has highly positive net exports in the international trade of cars and automotive parts. In turn, these cashflows indicate Germany’s strong competitive advantages and engineering excellence under the vehicles product category.
Products Causing Worst Competitive Disadvantages
Below are exports from Germany that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Germany’s goods trail German importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$147.2 billion (Up by 74.4% since 2021)
- Organic chemicals: -$32.2 billion (Up by 230.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$23.3 billion (Up by 453.4%)
- Gems, precious metals: -$14.3 billion (Down by -1.2%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$11.6 billion (Up by 21.7%)
- Ores, slag, ash: -$11.4 billion (Down by -20.6%)
- Fruits, nuts: -$9.7 billion (Down by -9.5%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$9.1 billion (Up by 34.5%)
- Oil seeds: -$7.4 billion (Up by 22.9%)
- Vegetables: -$6.3 billion (Down by -10.7%)
Germany has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits particularly for both crude oil and refined petroleum oils.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Germany’s competitive disadvantages in the international oil market, but also represent key opportunities for Germany to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations in alternative energy sources.
Germany’s Export Companies
Over fifty German corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a selected sample of major German export companies.
- Adidas (apparel/accessories)
- Allianz (diversified insurance)
- BASF (diversified chemicals)
- Bayer (diversified chemicals)
- BMW Group (cars, trucks)
- Continental (automotive parts)
- Daimler (cars, trucks)
- Fresenius (medical equipment, supplies)
- Heidelberg Cement (construction materials)
- Henkel (household/personal care items)
- Linde (diversified chemicals)
- Merck (pharmaceuticals)
- Siemens (conglomerate, engineering)
- Volkswagen Group (cars, trucks)
Searchable List of Germany’s Most Valuable Export Products
The following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Germany during 2022. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2021.
|Rank||Germany's Export Product||Value (US$)||Change|
|2||Medication mixes in dosage||$73,817,404,000||+14.8%|
|4||Blood fractions (including antisera)||$44,313,197,000||-7.6%|
|5||Processed petroleum oils||$24,967,028,000||+65.1%|
|9||Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)||$17,550,179,000||-8.1%|
|11||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$16,686,086,000||-2%|
|12||Computers, optical readers||$16,346,926,000||-12.3%|
|13||Centrifuges, filters and purifiers||$16,065,858,000||-4.8%|
|14||Taps, valves, similar appliances||$14,515,051,000||-5.4%|
|15||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$13,287,339,000||-2.6%|
|16||Piston engine parts||$12,764,324,000||-4.1%|
|17||Transmission shafts, gears, clutches||$12,640,420,000||-6.3%|
|18||Electrical converters/power units||$12,311,330,000||+2%|
|19||Phone system devices||$12,227,942,000||-11%|
|22||Liquid pumps and elevators||$10,903,010,000||-7.2%|
|23||Miscellaneous plastic items||$10,757,903,000||-6.9%|
|24||Air or vacuum pumps||$10,280,891,000||-2%|
|27||Solar power diodes/semi-conductors||$9,385,050,000||+16.3%|
|28||Physical/chemical analysis tools||$8,968,964,000||-8.2%|
|30||Other measuring/testing machines||$8,719,760,000||-6.3%|
|32||Electric motors, generators||$8,562,165,000||+0.3%|
|33||Electric storage batteries||$7,956,213,000||-5.6%|
|34||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$7,736,206,000||-1.1%|
|35||Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines||$7,572,697,000||-11%|
|36||Other diagnostic/lab reagents||$7,348,609,000||+13.1%|
|37||Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers||$7,162,136,000||-2.7%|
|40||Aircraft or spacecraft parts||$6,678,671,000||#DIV/0!|
|42||Aluminum plates, sheets, strips||$6,542,013,000||+10.4%|
|43||Chemical industry products/residuals||$6,541,041,000||-0.5%|
|45||Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches||$6,120,885,000||-0.8%|
|48||Rubber/plastic article making machines||$5,807,491,000||-6.1%|
|49||Rubber tires (new)||$5,804,166,000||+1.3%|
|50||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$5,768,776,000||-1.8%|
|52||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$5,660,062,000||-4.5%|
|55||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$5,478,869,000||-5.7%|
|57||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$5,394,266,000||-0.2%|
|59||Precious metal compounds||$5,200,103,000||-13.6%|
|60||Base metal mountings, fittings||$5,188,816,000||-8.4%|
|61||Iron or steel scrap||$5,186,906,000||-2.7%|
|63||Ball, roller bearings||$5,153,309,000||-6.2%|
|66||Heterocyclics, nucleic acids||$5,091,676,000||+18.7%|
|67||Miscellaneous iron and steel structures||$5,077,256,000||-2.5%|
|68||Initiators/accelerators, catalytic preps||$5,076,096,000||-9.9%|
|70||Liquid/gas checking instruments||$4,900,894,000||-7.7%|
|71||Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings||$4,858,572,000||-2.8%|
|72||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$4,825,546,000||+3.6%|
|73||Other food preparations||$4,793,723,000||+0.9%|
|76||Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)||$4,515,822,000||+25.9%|
|77||Miscellaneous animal feed preparations||$4,511,238,000||+2.2%|
|80||Other organic cleaning preparations||$4,379,561,000||+1%|
|81||Cruise/cargo ships, barges||$4,379,468,000||-17.3%|
|82||Electrical lighting/signaling equpment, defrosters||$4,307,986,000||-8.7%|
|83||Vulcanized rubber items||$4,256,156,000||-7%|
|84||Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)||$4,239,230,000||-5.8%|
|85||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$4,223,022,000||-2.6%|
|88||Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations||$4,137,572,000||+2.9%|
|89||Flat-rolled other alloy steel products||$3,959,451,000||+20.2%|
|90||Interchangeable hand/machine tools||$3,917,515,000||-10.2%|
|93||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$3,872,268,000||+1.6%|
|95||Special purpose vehicles||$3,834,285,000||-2.6%|
|98||Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products||$3,761,231,000||+17%|
|99||Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators)||$3,756,250,000||-8.2%|
|100||Cellulose fiber paper||$3,723,004,000||+1.6%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$1.043 trillion or over three-fifths (63%) by value for all products exported from Deutschland during 2022.
In macroeconomic terms, Germany’s total exported goods represent 31.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($5.316 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 31.2% for exports to overall GDP per PPP in 2022 compares to 33.6% one year earlier. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Germany’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Germany’s unemployment rate averaged 2.938% for 2022, down from an average 3.575% for 2021 according to the International Monetary Fund.
See also Germany’s Top 10 Imports, Germany’s Top Trading Partners, Top German Trade Balances and Germany’s Top 10 Major Export Companies
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