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Iceland Trade Statistics: How The Fishing Industry Is Central To Imports & Exports

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Our overview of Iceland’s economy focuses on Iceland’s GDP performance and how it fares as part of the global economy.

We also list the top commodity imports, the top exports, followed by a short summary of some of Iceland’s most traded commodities’ positions in their respective global sectors.

Iceland’s Economic Overview

The country of Iceland only became an independent republic in 1944 and subsequently became one of the most prosperous economies in the world.

This was prior to the collapse of the banking system in 2008, which created major economic difficulties.

It is now ranked as the 102nd product export economy in the world with annual exports of $6.67 billion and imports of $7.79 billion, producing a negative trade balance of $1.12 billion.

The value of its annual exports has grown 15.6% from $5.63 billion in 2017.

Iceland’s Top Commodity Exports

Here are Iceland’s top five export commodities. Some of these don’t trade as derivatives like CFDs, although stock brokers may have listed company shares through which you can speculate on these commodity prices.

CommodityAmount (Annually)
Aluminum$2.25 billion
Fish Fillets $977 million
Other Fish Products$905 million
Aluminum Wire$218 million
Ferroalloys$201 million

Other Notable Exports From Iceland

  1. Passenger and Cargo Ships – $273 million
  2. Animal Meal and Pellets – $210 million
  3. Refined Petroleum – $108 million
  4. Fish Oil – $106 million
  5. Orthopedic Appliances – $96.9 million

The top export destinations of Iceland are the Netherlands ($1.66 billion), Germany ($588 million), the UK ($562 million), Spain ($455 million), and France ($415 million).

Iceland’s Top Commodity Imports

Refined petroleum and aluminium oxide are by far the most imported commodities. Most of Iceland’s exports are manufactured goods.

CommodityAmount (Annually)
Refined Petroleum $837 million
Aluminum Oxide $766 million
Fish Oil $22.9 million
Rolled Tobacco $25.5 million
Raw Iron Bars$24.3 million

Other Notable Imports From Iceland

  1. Cars – $408 million
  2. Carbon-Based Electronics – $294 million
  3. Computers – $116 million
  4. Delivery Trucks – $72.2 million
  5. Fishing Ships – $41.5 million

Most Traded Commodities In Iceland

Here are details on some of the most traded commodities in Iceland.


Aluminum is the biggest export market in Iceland and represents 33.7% of its total annual shipments.

In addition to raw aluminum exports of $2.25 billion each year, it also exports aluminum wire ($218 million), aluminum bars ($189 million) and aluminum foil ($104 million).

Iceland has exports 49.6% of its raw aluminum to the Netherlands.

Fish Fillets

The fishing industry has always been important to Iceland and it still remains a vital part of its economy despite recent attempts to diversify.

Exports of fish fillets account for 14.6% of Iceland’s total annual exports, including processed fish (4.39%), non-fillet frozen fish (5.92%), and non-fillet fresh fish exports (3.25%) combine to almost $2 billion of its shipments of fish produce.


Shipments of ferroalloys contribute 3.01% of Iceland’s export total.

The Netherlands is the biggest importer of ferroalloys, taking 31.4% of Iceland’s annual shipments, with Germany (14.4%), Japan (12.9%), and France (8.33%) being the other main destinations.

Fish Oil

Iceland exports $106 million of fish oil annually and that is 1.58% of its total shipments.

The global export market for fish oil is worth $2.02 billion and Iceland is the sixth-largest exporter with a 5.25% share.

Norway is the biggest importer of fish oil from Iceland, taking 42.2% of its annual shipments.

Refined Petroleum

The global market for refined petroleum exports is valued at $753 billion and Iceland has a small share of this market with exports worth $108 million.

Iceland sends 25.5% of its refined petroleum exports to the UK each year, with Greenland (14.9%) and Russia (7%) being the other main recipients.

A Few Interesting Facts About Iceland

  • Pingvellir in Iceland is one of only two places in the world where you can witness two of the Earth’s tectonic plates meeting above the surface.
  • There are more than 125 volcanic mountains in the country.
  • Iceland is severely lacking in forests. This is attributed to the Vikings cutting down a large percentage of the native trees during their time on the island.
  • Very few fossil fuels are burned in Iceland. It relies mainly on geothermal water to heat its homes.

All figures based on OEC/IMF 2018 calculations and projections unless stated otherwise.

Where Can I Trade Commodities?

If you’re interested in trading are available, you can browse and research these regulated brokers available in .

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CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74%-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Further Reading

If you want to learn more about commodities in general, see our guides on:

You can also learn about different ways to trade Iceland imports and exports from the following guides on: CFD Brokers, Options Trading, and Bullion Dealers.

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