That dollar amount reflects a 22.7% increase since 2017 when Singaporean exports totaled $373.1 billion and a 22.4% acceleration from $373.9 billion during 2020.
The 5 top exported products from Singapore were integrated circuits and microassemblies, processed petroleum oils, machinery for making semi-conductors, gold, and phone devices including smartphones. Collectively, that varied group of products accounted for 43.8% of the overall value of Singaporean exports.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2021, the Singapore dollar appreciated by 2.7% against the US dollar since 2017 and expanded by 2.6% from 2020 to 2021. Singapore’s stronger local currency makes its exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive for international buyers during 2021.
Major Countries Buying Products Exported from Singapore
The latest available country-specific data shows that more than three-quarters (77.9%) of products exported from Singapore were bought by importers in: mainland China (14.8% of Singapore global total), Hong Kong (13.1%), Malaysia (9.2%), United States of America (8.6%), Indonesia (6.3%), Taiwan (5.1%), South Korea (4.3%), Japan (4%), Vietnam (3.43%), Thailand (3.41%), Australia (2.9%) and India (2.8%).
From a continental perspective, 74.1% of Singapore exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 9.3% were sold to European importers. Singapore shipped another 9.1% worth of goods to North America.
Smaller percentages went to Oceania (4.4%) led by Australia, Marshall Islands and New Zealand, Latin America (1.7%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Africa (1.3%).
Given Singapore’s population of 5.45 million people, its total $457.7 billion in 2021 exports translates to a formidable $83,900 for every resident in the exports-dependent nation. That dollar metric eclipses the average $64,900 per capita in 2020.
Singapore is busy trading hub which attracts a high degree of re-exporting activity with its trading partners.
Singapore’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Singaporean global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Singapore.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$167.1 billion (36.5% of total exports)
- Machinery including computers: $69.2 billion (15.1%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $46 billion (10%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $22.3 billion (4.9%)
- Gems, precious metals: $21.1 billion (4.6%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $15.9 billion (3.5%)
- Organic chemicals: $13.8 billion (3%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: $10.4 billion (2.3%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $10.3 billion (2.2%)
- Other chemical goods: $7.2 billion (1.6%)
Singapore’s top 10 exports represent 83.7% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 51.9% from 2020 to 2021. Refined petroleum oils were the biggest driver for Singapore’s mineral fuels-related growth products.
In second place for improving export sales was electrical machinery and equipment via a 26.6% gain.
Singapore’s shipments of plastics both as materials and items made from plastic posted the third-fastest gain in value, up by 23.3%.
The most modest increase among Singapore’s top 10 export categories was gems and precious metals, thanks to its 3.7% uptick.
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 Singapore’s Most Valuable Export Products further down near the bottom of this article.
Products Generating Biggest Trade Surpluses for Singapore
Overall, Singapore posted a $50.8 billion trade surplus in 2021. Singapore’s trade surplus grew 12.8% from $45.1 billion in black ink one year earlier.
The following types of Singaporean 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.
- Electrical machinery, equipment: US$29.1 billion (Up by 25.4% since 2020)
- Machinery including computers: $9.3 billion (Up by 77.4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $7.6 billion (Up by 32.9%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $7.6 billion (Down by -5.1%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $5.81 billion (Up by 9.3%)
- Perfumes, cosmetics: $5.69 billion (Up by 7%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: $5.5 billion (Up by 10.7%)
- Organic chemicals: $4.8 billion (Up by 9.7%)
- Other chemical goods: $1.8 billion (Up by 6.5%)
- Nickel: $818 million (Reversing a -$381.4 million deficit)
Singapore has highly positive net exports in the international trade of electronics including consumer gadgets. In turn, these cashflows indicate Singapore’s strong competitive advantages under the electrical machinery and equipment category.
Products Causing Worst Trade Deficits for Singapore
Below are exports from Singapore that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Singapore’s goods trail Singaporean importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$29.5 billion (Up by 56.3% since 2020)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$1.9 billion (Up by 49.7%)
- Articles of iron or steel: -$1.2 billion (Down by -0.9%)
- Vehicles: -$1.1 billion (Up by 84.4%)
- Iron, steel: -$1.04 billion (Up by 95.9%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: -$1 billion (Up by 27.2%)
- Dairy, eggs, honey: -$910.4 million (Up by 12.8%)
- Meat: -$877.2 million (Up by 1.7%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: -$855.1 million (Up by 93.5%)
- Aircraft, spacecraft: -$794.4 million (Down by -20.4%)
Singapore has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related goods, particularly petroleum oils (both crude and refined) and petroleum gases.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Singapore’s competitive disadvantages in the international fossil fuel market, but also represent key opportunities for Singapore to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations especially alternative energy sources.
Singapore’s Major Export Companies
Seventeen corporations based in Singapore rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Singaporean export companies that Forbes included.
- Wilmar International (food processing)
- Keppel Corp (industrial conglomerates)
- Flextronics International (electronics)
- Avago Technologies (semiconductors)
- ST Engineering (aerospace )
- Olam International (food processing)
- Golden Agri-Resources (food processing)
- China Aviation Oil (jet fuel trading)
Wikipedia also lists exporters from Singapore. Selected examples are shown below.
- Singapore Technologies Engineering (electronics manufacturing)
- Medical Technology (medical/healthcare equipment)
- Singapore Telecommunications Limited (communications)
According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following smaller companies are also examples of Singaporean export companies.
- Wajilam Export Singapore (wood, chocolate)
- Asahi Glass Singapore (glass sheets)
- Sephora Singapore (copper pipes/tubes, cabinets)
- Ltt Veneer Singapore (soybean flours, hams)
Searchable List of Singapore’s Most Valuable Export Products
The following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Singapore during 2021. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2020.
|Rank||Singapore's Export Product||2021 Value (US$)||Change|
|2||Processed petroleum oils||$41,386,579,000||+51%|
|3||Machinery for making semi-conductors||$17,725,938,000||+57.5%|
|5||Phone devices including smartphones||$13,752,170,000||+18.3%|
|7||Solar power diodes/semi-conductors||$11,263,496,000||+21.8%|
|8||Computers, optical readers||$9,497,336,000||+29.7%|
|10||Beauty/makeup/skin care preparations||$6,602,658,000||+5.9%|
|11||Other food preparations||$6,474,624,000||+10.8%|
|12||Medication mixes in dosage||$5,835,147,000||+12.6%|
|14||Unrecorded sound media||$5,106,197,000||+3.7%|
|15||Physical/chemical analysis tools||$4,690,773,000||+11.7%|
|17||Computer parts, accessories||$3,930,057,000||-4.7%|
|18||Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)||$3,442,227,000||+4.9%|
|21||Other measuring/testing machines||$3,194,446,000||+45.8%|
|22||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$3,118,386,000||+19.6%|
|26||Blood fractions (including antisera)||$2,705,679,000||+12.5%|
|28||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$2,235,667,000||+28.3%|
|30||Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing||$2,114,613,000||+8.4%|
|32||Heterocyclics, nucleic acids||$1,949,373,000||-22.5%|
|34||Lighting assembly machines||$1,889,032,000||+128.8%|
|35||Other diagnostic/lab reagents||$1,888,105,000||+37.3%|
|37||Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)||$1,834,637,000||+59.6%|
|39||Electrical converters/power units||$1,796,884,000||+23.9%|
|40||Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches||$1,770,904,000||+52.8%|
|42||Saturated acyclic mono acids||$1,568,146,000||+114.2%|
|43||Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers||$1,468,051,000||+7.5%|
|45||Taps, valves, similar appliances||$1,370,661,000||+1.2%|
|46||Cases, handbags, wallets||$1,342,065,000||-6.4%|
|47||Wrist/pocket watches (precious metal case)||$1,291,022,000||+51.9%|
|48||Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels||$1,238,162,000||+9.8%|
|49||Chemicals used in electronics||$1,222,901,000||+16.3%|
|50||Perfumes, toilet waters||$1,197,949,000||+25.4%|
|55||Petroleum oil residues||$1,080,041,000||+32.5%|
|56||TV receiver/transmit/digital cameras||$1,036,907,000||+25.4%|
|57||Electric storage batteries||$1,011,772,000||+15.8%|
|59||Ball, roller bearings||$930,895,000||+12.5%|
|60||Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates||$921,996,000||-36.7%|
|61||Flour/meal/starch/malt extract food preparations||$879,179,000||-18.3%|
|63||Centrifuges, filters and purifiers||$856,439,000||+10.2%|
|64||Miscellaneous plastic items||$849,901,000||+19.2%|
|66||Dried organs, heparin||$822,792,000||+35.6%|
|68||Air or vacuum pumps||$800,455,000||+6%|
|70||Chemical industry products/residuals||$796,542,000||+19.6%|
|71||Piston engine parts||$772,418,000||+6.2%|
|72||Precious metal waste, scrap||$768,462,000||-24.1%|
|73||TV/radio/radar device parts||$761,298,000||+43.3%|
|76||Radar, radio communication items||$749,828,000||+53.8%|
|77||Liquid pumps and elevators||$746,809,000||+7.3%|
|80||Uncoated paper for writing/printing||$645,912,000||+5.8%|
|81||Lenses, prisms, mirrors||$642,334,000||+41.3%|
|84||Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes||$616,243,000||+38.1%|
|88||Electric motors, generators||$592,980,000||+0%|
|89||Wrist/pocket watches (no precious metal case)||$586,786,000||+32.8%|
|90||Iron or steel scrap||$549,560,000||+117.2%|
|95||Other organic cleaning preparations||$540,527,000||+25.9%|
|97||Liquid/gas checking instruments||$523,474,000||+13.8%|
|98||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$512,206,000||+12.8%|
|99||Medication mixes not in dosage||$511,958,000||+48.7%|
|100||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$509,510,000||+15.2%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$386.2 billion or 84.4% by value for all products exported from Singapore during 2021.
Focusing on Singapore’s 100 most valuable exports, 6 products posted triple-digit gains in international sales compared to 2020. The top gainers were exported nickel (up 746.4%), aluminum (up 315.8%), lighting assembly machines (up 128.8%), petroleum gases (up 124.2%) then iron or steel scrap (up 117.2%)
See also Singapore’s Top Trading Partners , Singapore’s Top 10 Imports, Singapore’s Top 10 Major Export Companies and China’s Top Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on June 1, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 1, 2022
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (Domestic Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on June 1, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 1, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 1, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 1, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 1, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Singapore. Accessed on June 1, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 1, 2022
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on June 1, 2022