Based on the average exchange rate for 2021, the Norwegian krone has depreciated by -3.8% against the US dollar since 2017 but strengthened by 8.8% from 2020 to 2021. Norway’s stronger local currency compared to 2020 makes Norwegian exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive for international buyers.
Geographically, Norway’s closest trading partners are Finland, Russia and Denmark.
Norway’s 5 biggest exports ranked by international revenues for 2021 were petroleum gases, crude oil, fresh whole fish, refined petroleum oils and raw aluminum. Collectively, that cohort of major commodities accounts for almost three-quarters (72.9%) of Norwegian exported products.
From a continental perspective, 81.9% of Norway’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 12.1% were sold to importers in Asia. Norway shipped another 3.5% worth of goods to North America.
Tinier percentages went to Africa (1.4%), Latin America (0.9%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Oceania (0.3%) led by Australia, Marshall Islands and New Zealand.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 85.3% of products exported from Norway were bought by importers in: United Kingdom (20.7% of the global total), Germany (19.2%), Netherlands (7.9%), Sweden (7.8%), France (7.3%), Belgium (5.9%), mainland China (5.8%), Denmark (2.8%), United States of America (2.7%), Poland (2.1%), South Korea (1.6%) and Spain (1.5%).
Given Norway’s population of 5.4 million people, its total $159.8 billion in 2021 exports translates to roughly $29,500 for every resident in the Nordic nation. That per-capita average is almost twice the average $15,400 one year earlier in 2020.
Norway’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Norwegian global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Norway.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$106.7 billion (66.8% of total exports)
- Fish: $13.4 billion (8.4%)
- Aluminum: $5.2 billion (3.3%)
- Machinery including computers: $4.5 billion (2.8%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $3 billion (1.9%)
- Nickel: $1.7 billion (1%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $1.64 billion (1%)
- Iron, steel: $1.55 billion (1%)
- Organic chemicals: $1.49 billion (0.9%)
- Ships, boats: $1.48 billion (0.9%)
Norway’s top 10 exports accounted for 88% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 163.8% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place for improving export sales was the highly capital-intensive product category ships and boats which rose by 85.2%.
Norway’s shipments of aluminum posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 56.6% year over year.
The most modest gainer among Norway’s top 10 export categories was machinery including computers thanks to its 8.3% increase.
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.
Products Driving Greatest Trade Surpluses for Norway
Norway generated an overall $61.3 billion trade surplus during 2021, surging 5,425% from $1.1 billion in black ink one year earlier for 2020.
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$101.3 billion (Up by 174.3% since 2020)
- Fish: $12.9 billion (Up by 25.3%)
- Aluminum: $3.7 billion (Up by 57.7%)
- Gems, precious metals: $626.3 million (Up by 18.4%)
- Organic chemicals: $533.7 million (Up by 14.7%)
- Zinc: $528.8 million (Up by 15.8%)
- Iron, steel: $513.5 million (Up by 54.2%)
- Woodpulp: $256.9 million (Up by 23.8%)
- Arms, ammunition: $176 million (Up by 233.5%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $167.7 million (Up by 14%)
Norway has highly positive net exports in the international trade of petroleum gases, crude oil and refined petroleum oils. In turn, these cashflows indicate Norway’s strong competitive advantages under the mineral fuels including oil category.
Products Causing Biggest Trade Deficits for Norway
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$11.6 billion (Up by 36.9% since 2020)
- Machinery including computers: -$8 billion (Up by 9.9%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$6.2 billion (Up by 9.9%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$3.5 billion (Up by 10.2%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$2.8 billion (Up by 17.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$2.6 billion (Up by 25.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$2.2 billion (Up by 37.5%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$1.5 billion (Up by 13.5%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$1.2 billion (Up by 4.5%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$1.2 billion (Up by 22.6%)
Norway has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for road vehicles–notably cars, trucks, automobile parts and trailers.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Norway’s competitive disadvantages in the international automotive market, but also represent key opportunities for Norway to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations or volume discount negotiations.
Major Norwegian Export Companies
Nine Norwegian corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Norwegian export companies that Forbes included.
- Norsk Hydro (aluminum)
- Orkla (industrial conglomerates)
- Statoil (oil, gas)
- Telenor (telecommunications)
- Yara International (specialized chemicals)
Wikipedia also lists exporters from Norway. Selected examples are shown below.
- Cermaq (fish)
- Norske Skogindustrier, (pulp, paper)
- The Jotun Group (paints, related chemicals)
- Thin Film Electronics ASA (printed electronics)
- Tine (dairy products)
- Yara International (chemicals)
Searchable List of Norway’s Most Valuable Export Products
The following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Norway during 2021 sorted by value. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2020.
|Rank||Norwegian Export Product||2021 Value (US$)||YOY|
|3||Whole fish (fresh)||$7,861,041,000||+25%|
|4||Processed petroleum oils||$6,285,754,000||+68.2%|
|6||Fish fillets, pieces||$2,649,788,000||+23.8%|
|8||Whole fish (frozen)||$1,732,760,000||+29.3%|
|11||Cruise/cargo ships, barges||$1,001,499,000||+160.3%|
|12||Dried, salted and smoked fish||$849,931,000||+9.4%|
|15||Aluminum plates, sheets, strips||$632,335,000||+48.7%|
|17||Hydrogen, rare gases||$567,430,000||+27.6%|
|20||Liquid pumps and elevators||$524,961,000||+16.3%|
|23||Medication mixes in dosage||$432,172,000||-18.1%|
|25||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$369,562,000||+12.4%|
|26||Taps, valves, similar appliances||$331,300,000||-24.4%|
|27||Phone devices including smartphones||$319,508,000||-3.8%|
|29||Liquid/gas checking instruments||$310,763,000||+0.8%|
|30||Seats (excluding barber/dentist chairs)||$295,659,000||+31.5%|
|33||Other diagnostic/lab reagents||$287,484,000||+16.8%|
|34||Computers, optical readers||$286,655,000||+7.2%|
|35||Iron or steel scrap||$285,560,000||+60.6%|
|37||Crustaceans (including lobsters)||$273,363,000||+75.8%|
|39||Pebbles, gravel, crushed stone||$263,427,000||+6.1%|
|40||Other food preparations||$251,804,000||+17.4%|
|41||Miscellaneous animal feed preparations||$248,154,000||+23%|
|42||Electrical converters/power units||$247,303,000||+91.8%|
|44||Bombs, grenades, ammunition||$232,707,000||+53.8%|
|45||Uncoated paper for writing/printing||$229,935,000||+13.2%|
|47||Chemical woodpulp (dissolving)||$211,398,000||+11.4%|
|48||Fish/marine mammal fats and oils||$205,397,000||-0.1%|
|50||Navigational aids, compasses||$195,612,000||+39.6%|
|51||Inedible meat flour||$193,075,000||+52.9%|
|52||Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)||$192,137,000||-1.3%|
|53||Iron ores, concentrates||$187,252,000||+47.5%|
|55||Refined copper, unwrought alloys||$182,147,000||+35.8%|
|56||Miscellaneous iron and steel structures||$180,790,000||+20.6%|
|57||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$179,027,000||-11.7%|
|58||Centrifuges, filters and purifiers||$171,340,000||+11.1%|
|59||Metal-containing ash, residues||$168,591,000||+10.5%|
|60||Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods||$161,613,000||+67.4%|
|61||Copper waste, scrap||$153,674,000||+57.7%|
|62||Aluminum waste, scrap||$152,984,000||+70.3%|
|63||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$150,240,000||-0.7%|
|64||Electric generating sets, converters||$144,665,000||+43.8%|
|65||Sutures, special pharmaceutical goods||$141,142,000||+0.1%|
|66||TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras||$138,771,000||-8%|
|67||Other measuring/testing machines||$132,510,000||+1.7%|
|68||Lamps, lighting, illuminated signs||$129,202,000||+9.8%|
|69||Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)||$128,771,000||+17.2%|
|71||Air or vacuum pumps||$125,643,000||+9%|
|72||Coiled iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods||$116,341,000||+46.6%|
|73||Piston engine parts||$112,426,000||+14.8%|
|74||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$110,972,000||+18.9%|
|75||Industrial preparation machinery||$110,294,000||+11.1%|
|76||Agricultural, horticultural, forestry machines||$107,396,000||+6.7%|
|77||Chemical industry products/residuals||$107,176,000||+41.3%|
|79||Calculators, accounting/ticket machines, cash registers||$106,932,000||+212.8%|
|80||Finishing agents, dye carriers, fixers||$106,927,000||+16.1%|
|81||Blood fractions (including antisera)||$106,391,000||+48.4%|
|82||Carbon electrodes, brushes||$105,177,000||+13.3%|
|83||Computer parts, accessories||$103,087,000||+20.1%|
|85||Other precious metal items||$101,088,000||+33.8%|
|86||Iron or steel tubes, pipes||$100,422,000||+35.2%|
|87||Soya-bean oil-cake, other solid residues||$98,922,000||+12.6%|
|88||Physical/chemical analysis tools||$97,470,000||+14.3%|
|89||Miscellaneous engines, motors||$95,835,000||+30.5%|
|90||Vegetable parchment, tracing papers||$93,171,000||+10.6%|
|91||Granite, sandstone, basalt building stone||$93,133,000||+24.6%|
|94||Arms parts, accessories||$86,753,000||+40.4%|
|97||TV/radio/radar device parts||$83,222,000||+13.8%|
|99||Ligneous fiberboard including wood||$79,271,000||+18.2%|
|100||Iron or steel pipe fittings||$78,129,000||-2.5%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$147.1 billion or 92% by value for all products exported from Norway during 2021.
In macroeconomic terms, Norway’s total exported goods represent 42.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($378.4 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 42.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 23.7% in 2020. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Norway’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Norway’s forecasted unemployment rate was 4.3% at October 2021, down from an average 4.495% for 2021 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 March 24, 2022
Forbes 2017 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 24, 2022
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (Domestic Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on March 24, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 24, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 24, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 24, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Norway. Accessed on March 24, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on March 24, 2022
Wikipedia, Norway. Accessed on March 24, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on March 24, 2022