That dollar amount reflects a 19.5% increase compared to $549.9 billion during 2018.
Year over year, the overall value of goods exported from Italy rose 6.7% from $615.9 billion in 2021.
The 5 most valuable exports from Italy are medication mixes in dosage, processed petroleum oils, cars, automobile parts or accessories, then blood fractions including antisera. Combined, that quintet of leading Italian exports represents 15.5% of overall exports from Italy in 2022. Such a low percentage implies Italy’s diversified range of exported products.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2022, Italy’s official currency the euro depreciated by -12.1% against the US dollar since 2018 and fell by -12.3% from 2021 to 2022. The weaker European Union currency in 2022 made Italy’s exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
Major Buyer Countries Importing from Italy
The latest available country-specific data shows that 64.2% of products exported from Italy were bought by importers in: Germany (12.4% of the Italian total), United States of America (10.4%), France (10%), Spain (5.1%), Switzerland (5%), United Kingdom (4.4%), Belgium (3.7%), Poland (3.1%), Netherlands (3%), mainland China (2.6%), Austria (2.3%) and Türkiye (2.1%).
From a continental perspective, 64.6% of Italy’s exports by value was delivered to fellow European countries while 15% was sold to importers in Asia. Italy shipped another 12.3% worth of goods to North America.
Smaller percentages went to Africa (3.4%), Latin America (2.2%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (1%) led by Australia and New Zealand.
Given Italy’s population of 59.2 million people, its total $657 billion in 2022 exports translates to roughly $11,100 for every resident in the south European nation. That dollar metric exceeds the average $10,300 per capita in 2021.
Italy’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Italian global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Italy.
- Machinery including computers: US$106.2 billion (16.2% of total exports)
- Pharmaceuticals: $47.4 billion (7.2%)
- Vehicles: $45.5 billion (6.9%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $40.8 billion (6.2%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $33.7 billion (5.1%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $27.1 billion (4.1%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $22.9 billion (3.5%)
- Iron, steel: $21.2 billion (3.2%)
- Gems, precious metals: $20.4 billion (3.1%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $16.1 billion (2.5%)
Italy’s top 10 exports accounted for 58% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 83.7% from 2021 to 2022. That product category was propelled by Italy’s greater international sales of refined petroleum oils.
In second place for improving export sales were pharmaceuticals via a 29.1% gain.
Italy’s shipments of the metals iron and steel posted the third-fastest gain in value, increasing by 10.3%.
The leading decliner among Italy’s top 10 export categories was machinery including computers. That product category dropped -2.3% drop year over year.
Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, peruse the section below.
Searchable List of Italy’s Most Valuable Export Products
The following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Italy during 2022. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2021.
|Rank||Italy's Export Product||Value (US$)||Change|
|1||Medication mixes in dosage||$34,119,876,000||+32.4%|
|2||Processed petroleum oils||$24,869,341,000||+62.1%|
|5||Blood fractions (including antisera)||$11,926,294,000||+22.9%|
|6||Cases, handbags, wallets||$10,821,940,000||+3.3%|
|8||Taps, valves, similar appliances||$8,538,740,000||-3.9%|
|12||Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines||$6,263,367,000||-10.7%|
|14||Unglazed ceramic flags, tiles, cubes||$5,543,622,000||+2.7%|
|15||Phone devices including smartphones||$5,279,500,000||+34.2%|
|16||Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes||$5,173,629,000||+4.8%|
|17||Cruise/cargo ships, barges||$4,945,378,000||+43.1%|
|20||Liquid pumps and elevators||$4,773,147,000||-1.3%|
|23||Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)||$4,539,410,000||+2.4%|
|24||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$4,390,324,000||+4.2%|
|26||Transmission shafts, gears, clutches||$4,303,451,000||+4.9%|
|28||Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)||$4,200,501,000||+5.7%|
|30||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$4,093,004,000||+0.8%|
|31||Air or vacuum pumps||$4,049,294,000||-10.1%|
|32||Electrical converters/power units||$3,966,733,000||+22.2%|
|34||Miscellaneous plastic items||$3,572,367,000||-4.5%|
|36||Yachts, other pleasure/sports vessels||$3,561,621,000||+0.7%|
|39||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$3,507,659,000||+1.9%|
|40||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$3,264,052,000||+2.7%|
|41||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$3,250,602,000||+1%|
|42||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$2,953,343,000||-11.1%|
|43||Flat-rolled stainless steel items||$2,890,823,000||+18.9%|
|44||Centrifuges, filters and purifiers||$2,867,168,000||+0%|
|46||Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)||$2,732,466,000||-0.7%|
|49||Piston engine parts||$2,563,505,000||+0.5%|
|51||Electric motors, generators||$2,463,517,000||+8.1%|
|52||Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)||$2,451,487,000||-10.3%|
|53||Other animal leather||$2,441,827,000||-4.9%|
|55||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$2,421,504,000||-2.5%|
|56||Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations||$2,388,274,000||+4.2%|
|58||Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)||$2,339,163,000||+11.3%|
|60||Rubber/plastic article making machines||$2,310,265,000||-4.7%|
|61||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$2,301,769,000||+6%|
|62||Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers||$2,278,631,000||+3.2%|
|63||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$2,273,982,000||+2.1%|
|64||Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products||$2,240,749,000||+16.1%|
|66||Industrial preparation machinery||$2,180,139,000||-7.3%|
|67||Plastic tubes, pipes, fittings||$2,117,583,000||-3.8%|
|68||Computers, optical readers||$2,077,975,000||-1.1%|
|69||Women's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)||$2,072,944,000||+4.3%|
|70||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$2,068,001,000||+0.4%|
|73||Iron or steel pipe fittings||$1,991,443,000||+14.6%|
|74||Miscellaneous iron and steel structures||$1,985,220,000||-0.6%|
|75||Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs||$1,972,674,000||-3.2%|
|76||Miscellaneous aluminum items||$1,909,247,000||+2.6%|
|79||Base metal mountings, fittings||$1,857,844,000||-4.2%|
|81||Other food preparations||$1,835,000,000||+7%|
|82||Other organic cleaning preparations||$1,832,324,000||+3.9%|
|84||Paper containers, cellulose wadding||$1,794,990,000||+13.9%|
|85||Monument/building stones, art||$1,777,409,000||+2.8%|
|86||Men's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)||$1,763,567,000||+5.3%|
|88||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$1,730,487,000||+10.2%|
|89||Spray/dispersing mechanical appliances||$1,723,188,000||-8%|
|90||Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods||$1,722,634,000||+0.4%|
|92||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$1,685,628,000||+3.3%|
|93||Other measuring/testing machines||$1,655,966,000||-9.7%|
|94||Stainless steel bars, rods||$1,621,245,000||+27.8%|
|95||Other machine parts, accessories||$1,610,966,000||-0.5%|
|97||Aluminum plates, sheets, strips||$1,592,281,000||+14.7%|
|99||Perfumes, toilet waters||$1,561,603,000||+12.3%|
|100||Sauces, mixed condiments, seasonings||$1,534,770,000||+6.4%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$406.8 billion or over three-fifths (61.9%) of the overall value of products exported from Italy during 2022.
Products Generating Best Trade Surpluses for Italy
The following types of Italian 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 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.
- Machinery including computers: US$48.2 billion (Down by -10.7% since 2021)
- Articles of iron or steel: $13.9 billion (Up by 0.3%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $12.8 billion (Up by 117.3%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $10.9 billion (Down by -1%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $9.6 billion (Down by -5.8%)
- Ships, boats: $8.7 billion (Up by 80.1%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $8.1 billion (Down by -5.7%)
- Cereal/milk preparations: $6.1 billion (Up by 9.7%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $5.6 billion (Down by -8.9%)
- Footwear: $5.3 billion (Down by -11.3%)
Italy has highly positive net exports in the international trade of machinery–a product category that includes computers. In turn, these cashflows indicate Italy’s strong competitive advantages in producing machinery for international markets.
Products Causing Worst Trade Deficits for Italy
Overall Italy posted a -$32.2 billion trade deficit in 2022, reversing a $42.7 billion trade surplus one year earlier in 2021.
Below are exports from Italy that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Italy’s goods trail Italian importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$113.6 billion (Up by 98.4% since 2021)
- Organic chemicals: -$14.4 billion (Up by 38.7%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$11.7 billion (Up by 22.7%)
- Iron, steel: -$11.5 billion (Up by 23.2%)
- Fish: -$5.5 billion (Down by -0.3%)
- Copper: -$5 billion (Up by 4.6%)
- Cereals: -$4.6 billion (Up by 44.7%)
- Wood: -$4.5 billion (Up by 43.8%)
- Meat: -$3.2 billion (Up by 44.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$2.8 billion (Up by 206.3%)
Italy has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related products notably crude oil, petroleum gas, electrical energy, coal and peat.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Italy’s competitive disadvantages in the international energy market, but also represent key opportunities for Italy to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations especially in cleaner alternative energy sources.
Major Italian Export Companies
Thirty corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Italian companies that Forbes included.
- Eni (oil, gas)
- Finmeccanica (aerospace)
- Parmalat (food processing)
- Pirelli & C (automotive parts)
- Prada (clothing, accessories)
- Prysmian (electrical equipment)
- Saras (oil, gas)
- Telecom Italia (telecommunications services)
According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following smaller companies are also examples of Italian exporters.
- Acciaierie Valbruna (stainless steel bars, rods, doors, window frames)
- Chateau D AX (wood seats, chemicals)
- Emilceramica (ceramic tiles, building tiles)
In macroeconomic terms, Italy’s total exported goods represent 21.7% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($3.022 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 21.7% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2022 compares to 22.3% one year earlier. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Italy’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Italy’s average unemployment rate was 8.8% in 2022, down from an average 9.517% for 2021 according to the International Monetary Fund.
Italy’s capital city is Rome.
See also Italy’s Top Trading Partners, Italy’s Top 10 Major Export Companies and Italy’s Top 10 Imports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 31, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 31, 2023
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (Domestic Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on March 31, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 31, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 31, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 31, 2023
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 28, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Italy. Accessed on March 31, 2023
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 28, 2022
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 31, 2023