Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, the Norwegian krone has depreciated by -12.1% against the US dollar since 2016 and declined by -7% from 2019 to 2020. Norway’s weaker local currency makes Norwegian exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
From a continental perspective, 75.7% of Norway’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 16.2% were sold to Asian importers. Norway shipped another 5% worth of goods to North America. Smaller percentages went to Africa (1.8%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1%) then Oceania led by Australia (0.3%).
The latest available country-specific data shows that 80.1% of products exported from Norway were bought by importers in: United Kingdom (17.5% of the global total), Germany (11.7%), Sweden (9.9%), Netherlands (9.9%), China (7.8%), France (5.1%), Denmark (4.2%), United States (4.0%), Belgium (3.8%), Poland (2.7%), Spain (1.8%) and South Korea (1.7%).
Given Norway’s population of 5.4 million people, its total $82.8 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $15,400 for every resident in the Nordic nation.
Norway’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Norwegian global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Norway.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$40.9 billion (49.4% of total exports)
- Fish: $10.7 billion (13%)
- Machinery including computers: $4.1 billion (5%)
- Aluminum: $3.3 billion (4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $2.4 billion (2.9%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.5 billion (1.8%)
- Nickel: $1.3 billion (1.5%)
- Organic chemicals: $1.2 billion (1.4%)
- Iron, steel: $1.1 billion (1.3%)
- Vehicles: $942.1 million (1.1%)
Norway’s top 10 exports accounted for 81.3% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Nickel was the slowest declining among the top 10 export categories, down by -0.9% year over year since 2019. In second place for decreasing export sales was iron and steel which slowed by -3%. Norway’s shipments of vehicles posted the third-lowest drop in value down by -3.9% year over year.
The leading decliner among Norway’s top 10 export categories was mineral fuels including oil which fell -28.4%.
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 Norway’s Most Valuable Export Products further down below.
Overall Norway generated a $1.4 billion trade surplus during 2020, down -91.8% from $16.9 billion in black ink one year earlier.
The following types of Norwegian 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.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$37.3 billion (Down by -27.6% since 2019)
- Fish: $10.3 billion (Down by -8.2%)
- Aluminum: $2.3 billion (Down by -9.5%)
- Gems, precious metals: $521.4 million (Up by 77.6%)
- Organic chemicals: $465.5 million (Down by -20.6%)
- Zinc: $458.3 million (Down by -12%)
- Iron, steel: $334.8 million (Up by 29.3%)
- Woodpulp: $207.4 million (Up by 0.1%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $147.4 million (Up by 10.5%)
- Other base metals: $84.8 million (Down by -20.3%)
Norway has highly positive net exports in the international trade of mineral fuels-related products. In turn, these cashflows indicate Norway’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels including oil category.
Below are exports from Norway that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Norway’s goods trail Norwegian importer spending on foreign products.
- Vehicles: -US$8.5 billion (Down by -8.9% since 2019)
- Machinery including computers: -$7.2 billion (Down by -0.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$5.7 billion (Down by -2.9%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$3.2 billion (Down by -11.7%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefab buildings: -$2.4 billion (Down by -6.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$2.1 billion (Up by 2.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$1.6 billion (Up by 8.8%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$1.3 billion (Up by 7.9%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$1.2 billion (Down by -2.4%)
- Ships, boats: -$1.1 billion (Up by 219%)
Norway has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for road vehicles (notably cars, trucks, automobile parts and trailers).
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Norway’s competitive disadvantages in the international automotive market, but also represent key opportunities for Norway to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations or volume discount negotiations.
Norwegian Export Companies
Nine Norwegian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Norwegian export companies that Forbes included.
- Norsk Hydro (aluminum)
- Orkla (industrial conglomerates)
- Statoil (oil, gas)
- Telenor (telecommunications)
- Yara International (specialized chemicals)
Wikipedia also lists exporters from Norway. Selected examples are shown below.
- Cermaq (fish)
- Norske Skogindustrier, (pulp, paper)
- The Jotun Group (paints, related chemicals)
- Thin Film Electronics ASA (printed electronics)
- Tine (dairy products)
- Yara International (chemicals)
Searchable List of Norway’s Most Valuable Export Products
The following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Norway during 2020 sorted by value. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2019.
|Rank||Norwegian Export Product||2020 Value (US$)||Change|
|3||Whole fish (fresh)||$7,100,087,000||-11.3%|
|4||Processed petroleum oils||$6,207,118,000||-39.4%|
|6||Fish fillets, pieces||$2,030,153,000||+5.3%|
|10||Dried, salted or smoked fish||$901,054,000||-13.8%|
|13||Medication mixes in dosage||$516,499,000||+1.7%|
|16||Liquid pumps and elevators||$548,990,000||-17.8%|
|18||Hydrogen, rare gases||$436,092,000||+1.7%|
|19||Taps, valves, similar appliances||$338,095,000||+29.3%|
|20||Aluminum plates, sheets, strips||$469,718,000||-9.7%|
|23||Cruise/cargo ships, barges||$629,628,000||-41.9%|
|25||Phone system devices||$329,802,000||+0.7%|
|26||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$343,545,000||-4.1%|
|28||Liquid/gas checking instruments||$294,325,000||+4.8%|
|30||Computers, optical readers||$270,739,000||-1.1%|
|33||Pebbles, gravel, broken or crushed stone||$228,868,000||+8.1%|
|34||Other diagnostic/lab reagents||$223,590,000||+9.9%|
|35||Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)||$219,914,000||+2.9%|
|37||Other food preparations||$184,481,000||+16.2%|
|39||Fish/marine mammal fats and oils||$160,072,000||+28.1%|
|40||Uncoated paper for writing/printing||$255,648,000||-20.1%|
|41||Miscellaneous animal feed preparations||$215,964,000||-5.9%|
|42||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$161,061,000||+24.6%|
|43||Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)||$218,811,000||-11.4%|
|44||Chemical woodpulp (dissolving)||$185,464,000||+2%|
|45||Iron or steel scrap||$178,781,000||-0.2%|
|47||Crustaceans (including lobsters)||$169,895,000||-7.5%|
|48||Centrifuges, filters and purifiers||$178,282,000||-13.8%|
|49||Metal-containing ash, residues||$145,344,000||+4%|
|50||Bombs, grenades, ammunition||$156,021,000||-3.1%|
|51||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$153,000,000||-1.3%|
|52||TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras||$127,281,000||+18.5%|
|53||Miscellaneous iron and steel structures||$144,377,000||+4.3%|
|56||Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods||$135,375,000||+3.9%|
|57||Navigational instruments including compasses||$123,390,000||+13.1%|
|59||Refined copper, unwrought alloys||$134,885,000||+0.1%|
|61||Other measuring/testing machines||$121,142,000||+7.8%|
|62||Electrical converters/power units||$128,396,000||+0.7%|
|63||Iron ores, concentrates||$108,083,000||+18.1%|
|64||Inedible meat flour||$118,259,000||+6.5%|
|65||Fishing vessels, factory ships||$137,387,000||-13.6%|
|66||Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs||$122,440,000||-3.9%|
|67||Air or vacuum pumps||$163,135,000||-29.6%|
|68||Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)||$66,449,000||+65.2%|
|69||Hand-drawn paintings, drawings||$11,367,000||+814%|
|71||Electric generating sets, converters||$146,742,000||-30.2%|
|72||Agricultural, forestry equipment||$95,780,000||+4.7%|
|74||Piston engine parts||$130,847,000||-25%|
|75||Copper waste, scrap||$106,457,000||-8.3%|
|76||Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods||$104,086,000||-7.6%|
|77||Carbon electrodes, carbon brushes||$105,455,000||-11.9%|
|78||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$85,851,000||+8%|
|79||Finishing agents, dye carriers, fixers||$110,660,000||-16.4%|
|80||Other military weapons||$324,000||+28,075%|
|81||Aluminum waste, scrap||$86,415,000||+4.8%|
|82||Soya-bean oil-cake, other solid residues||$68,996,000||+27%|
|83||Computer parts, accessories||$82,515,000||+4.8%|
|84||Physical/chemical analysis tools||$91,257,000||-6.7%|
|85||Vegetable parchment, tracing papers, glassine||$74,420,000||+12.8%|
|87||Iron or steel pipe fittings||$96,479,000||-16.9%|
|88||Coiled iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods||$81,376,000||-2.6%|
|89||Chemical industry products/residuals||$77,746,000||-2.7%|
|90||Granite, basalt, sandstone||$71,561,000||+5.6%|
|91||Iron or steel tubes, pipes||$104,327,000||-28.1%|
|92||Other precious metal items||$47,184,000||+55.8%|
|93||Miscellaneous engines, motors||$92,906,000||-20.9%|
|94||Transmission shafts, gears, clutches||$83,682,000||-12.3%|
|95||TV/radio/radar device parts||$72,797,000||+0.5%|
|97||Blood fractions (including antisera)||$87,685,000||-17.7%|
|99||Ligneous fiberboard including wood||$53,348,000||+25.4%|
|100||Special purpose vehicles||$87,020,000||-24.3%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$72.8 billion or 87.9% by value for all products exported from Norway during 2020.
In macroeconomic terms, Norway’s total exported goods represent 23.7% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($349.5 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 23.7% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 25% in 2019, seeming to indicate a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Norway’s total economic performance.
5.0% Dec2020 (3.854% 2018)
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Norway’s forecasted unemployment rate will be an estimated 5% at December 2020, up from an average 3.6% for 2020 according to the International Monetary Fund.
Norway’s capital city is Oslo.
See also Norway’s Top Trading Partners, Norway’s Top 10 Imports and Capital Facts for Oslo, Norway
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Country Profiles. Accessed on February 20, 2021
Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 20, 2021
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on February 20, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 20, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 20, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 20, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Norway. Accessed on February 20, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on February 20, 2021
Wikipedia, Norway. Accessed on February 20, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on February 20, 2021