Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, Slovenia uses the euro which appreciated by 3.1% against the US dollar since 2016 and increased by 2% from 2019 to 2020. The stronger EU currency in 2020 made Slovenia’s exports paid for in weaker US dollars relatively more expensive for international buyers.
The latest available country-specific data shows that 74.4% of products exported from Slovenia were bought by importers in: Germany (16.6% of the global total), Switzerland (10.3%), Italy (9.1%), Croatia (7%), Austria (6.1%), Hungary (4.7%), France (4.5%), Poland (also 4.5%), Serbia (3.9%), Slovakia (2.6%), Czech Republic (also 2.6%) then Bosnia and Herzegovina (2.5%).
From a continental perspective, 89.9% of Slovenia’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 6% were sold to importers in Asia. Slovenia shipped another 2.1% worth of goods to North America. Smaller percentages went to Africa (1.2%), Oceania led by Australia (0.33%) then Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.27%).
Given Slovenia’s population of 2.1 million people, its total $44.8 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $21,700 for every resident in the south-central European nation.
Slovenia’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Slovenian global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Slovenia.
- Pharmaceuticals: US$8 billion (17.8% of total exports)
- Vehicles : $7.4 billion (16.5%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $4.5 billion (10.1%)
- Machinery including computers: $4.4 billion (9.8%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $1.8 billion (3.9%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $1.5 billion (3.4%)
- Iron, steel: $1.4 billion (3%)
- Aluminum: $1.2 billion (2.7%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $1.1 billion (2.6%)
- Wood: $1 billion (2.3%)
Slovenia’s top 10 exports accounted for well over two-thirds (72.2%) of the overall value of its global shipments.
Pharmaceuticals represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 44.6% from 2019 to 2020. In second place for improving export sales were vehicles via a 29.9% gain. Slovenia’s shipments of wood posted the third-fastest acceleration in value up by 19.1%.
The leading decliner among Slovenia’s top 10 export categories was mineral fuels including oil thanks to a -24.5% drop year over year.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Slovenia’s most valuable exported product is medication mixes in dosage (16.3% of total). In second place were cars (11.2%) trailed by auto parts or accessories (2.4%), refined petroleum oils (1.6%), electrical energy (also 1.6%), trucks (1.4%), blood fractions including antisera (1.2%) then electrical lighting and signaling equipment (1.1%).
Overall Slovenia garnered a $2.7 billion trade surplus for 2020, reversing a -$587.5 million deficit one year earlier.
The following types of Slovenian 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.
- Pharmaceuticals: US$2.1 billion (Up by 81.1% since 2019)
- Vehicles: $1.5 billion (Up by 54.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $728.2 million (Down by -8.2%)
- Machinery including computers: $554.6 million (Up by 169.2%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $408.6 million (Down by -21.3%)
- Wood: $405.3 million (Up by 47.4%)
- Paper, paper items: $336.2 million (Up by 505.3%)
- Tanning, dyes, paints, varnishes, ink: $242.7 million (Up by 11.2%)
- Aluminum: $180.4 million (Down by -10.8%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $163.2 million (Up by 17.9%)
Slovenia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of pharmaceuticals and vehicles notably cars and motorcycle parts or accessories. In turn, these cashflows indicate Slovenia’s strong competitive advantages under the pharmaceuticals and vehicles product categories.
Below are exports from Slovenia that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Slovenia’s goods trail Slovenian importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US-$1 billion (Down by -43% since 2019)
- Organic chemicals: -$986 million (Up by 71.1%)
- Iron, steel: -$286.3 million (Down by -12.8%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: -$166 million (Down by -21.9%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): -$141.3 million (Down by -15.2%)
- Fruits, nuts: -$130.3 million (Down by -11.4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$125.5 million (Down by -54%)
- Cereal/milk preparations: -$119.7 million (Up by 2.9%)
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: -$118.9 million (Up by 199.4%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: -$116.4 million (Up by 20.1%)
Slovenia has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels-related products, particularly refined oils and petroleum gases.
Slovenian Export Companies
Not one Slovenian corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia also lists companies based in Slovenia. Selected examples are shown below.
- Academa (custom software)
- Adria Mobil (motorhomes)
- Akrapovič (motorcycle exhaust systems)
- Alpina Žiri (shoes, boots)
- Gorenje (home appliances)
- Krka (pharmaceuticals)
- Litostroj (heavy machinery)
- Tomos (motorcycles)
In macroeconomic terms, Slovenia’s total exported goods represent 56.2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($79.7 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 56.2% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 56.4% for 2019. This suggests a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Slovenia’s total economic performance albeit based on a short timeframe. Please note that those percentages include a significant amount of re-exporting activity.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Slovenia’s unemployment rate was 9.4% in January 2021, up from 7.9% one year earlier according to Trading Ecnomics.
Slovenia’s capital city is Ljubljana.
See also Top EU Export Countries, Lithuania’s Top 10 Exports and Croatia’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Europe: Slovenia. Accessed on April 3, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 3, 2021
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on April 3, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 3, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 3, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 3, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on April 3, 2021
Wikipedia, Latvia. Accessed on April 3, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Slovenia. Accessed on April 3, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on April 3, 2021
Wikipedia, Latvia. Accessed on April 3, 2021