Sweden exported US$189.9 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2021, up 23.9% since 2017 and accelerating by 22.5% from 2020 to 2021.
Sweden’s 6 biggest trading partners are Norway, Germany, United States of America, Denmark, Finland and the United Kingdom. Combined, that half-dozen of leading customers for Sweden’s exported products accounted for almost half (49.3%) of all Swedish exports.
Applying a continental lens, 69.8% of Sweden’s exports by value were delivered to fellow European countries while 14.1% were sold to importers in Asia. Sweden shipped another 9.2% worth of goods to North America.
Tinier percentages went to Africa (1.8%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.3%) and Oceania led by Australia (1.2%).
Sweden’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 25 of Sweden’s top trading partners in terms of export sales. That is, countries that imported the most Swedish shipments by dollar value during 2021. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Swedish exports.
- Norway: US$20.2 billion (10.7% of Sweden’s total exports)
- Germany: $19.5 billion (10.2%)
- United States: $15.3 billion (8.1%)
- Denmark: $14.7 billion (7.7%)
- Finland: $13.5 billion (7.1%)
- United Kingdom: $10.4 billion (5.5%)
- Netherlands: $9.5 billion (5.0%)
- mainland China: $7.8 billion (4.1%)
- France: $7.6 billion (4.0%)
- Poland: $7.2 billion (3.8%)
- Belgium: $6.9 billion (3.6%)
- Italy: $5.5 billion (2.9%)
- Spain: $3.7 billion (1.9%)
- Japan: $2.8 billion (1.5%)
- Russia: $2.5 billion (1.3%)
- Turkey: $1.72 billion (0.9%)
- Switzerland: $1.71 billion (0.9%)
- South Korea: $1.69 billion (0.9%)
- Czech Republic: $1.68 billion (0.9%)
- Austria: $1.68 billion (0.9%)
- Estonia: $1.54 billion (0.8%)
- Australia: $1.54 billion (0.8%)
- Lithuania: $1.46 billion (0.8%)
- India: $1.29 billion (0.7%)
- Singapore: $1.26 billion (0.7%)
Well over four-fifths (85.7%) of Swedish exports in 2021 were delivered to the above 25 trade partners.
Fastest growers among Sweden’s top customers from 2020 to 2021 were: Lithuania (up 44.6%), Poland (up 40.6), Czech Republic (up 38.7%), Singapore (up 33.8%), India (up 33.7%), Italy (up 33.4%) and the United Kingdom (also up 33.4%).
There were 2 decliners year over year namely importers in Australia (down -7.9%) and mainland China (down -7.1%).
Country Causing Worst Trade Deficits for Sweden
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Sweden incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries.
- Germany: -US$12.4 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2021)
- Netherlands: -$9.3 billion
- Mainland China: -$5 billion
- Poland: -$1.6 billion
- Ireland: -$1.41 billion
- Belgium: -$1.4 billion
- Vietnam: -$1.29 billion
- Czech Republic: -$1.27 billion
- Hungary: -$1.18 billion
- Italy: -$1.15 billion
Among Sweden’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Swedish deficits with mainland China (up 516.4%), Netherlands (up 39.2%) and Ireland (up 25%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Sweden’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Sweden to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Country Generating Biggest Trade Surpluses for Sweden
Overall Sweden generated a $2.748 billion trade surplus for 2021, down by 50% from $5.5 billion in black ink one year earlier.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
Sweden incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries.
- United States of America: US$10.1 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2021)
- Finland: $5.1 billion
- United Kingdom: $4.8 billion
- Denmark: $1.7 billion
- Japan: $1.4 billion
- Australia: $1.3 billion
- Norway: $1.2 billion
- Singapore: $1.12 billion
- Saudi Arabia: $1.1 billion
- Egypt: $841.3 million
Among Sweden’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Swedish surpluses with United Kingdom (up 247%), Singapore (up 42.9%) and Finland (up 31.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Sweden’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Sweden to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Sweden’s Major Export Companies
Twenty-six corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Swedish companies that Forbes included.
- Alfa Laval (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
- Assa Abloy (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
- Atlas Copco (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
- Autoliv (automotive parts)
- Electrolux Group (household appliances)
- Ericsson (communications equipment)
- Hexagon (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
- Sandvik (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
- SCA (household, personal care)
- SKF Group (miscellaneous industrial equipment)
- Volvo Group (heavy equipment)
According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following smaller exporters from Sweden.
- Bulten Sweden (automotive parts, screws/bolts/nuts)
- First Cargo Sweden (automobiles, bicycles, rubber tires)
- Gelita Sweden (gelatin, salted/smoked meat, peptones/other proteins)
- Kappahl (textile footwear, clothing)
- Kendrion Hagalund (automotive parts, smoking tobacco, titanium dioxide pigments)
See also Sweden’s Top 10 Imports, Sweden’s Top 10 Exports and European Union’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 26, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 26, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 26, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 26, 2022
Wikipedia, Sweden. Accessed on May 26, 2022
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on May 26, 2022