Slovenia Economics and Business

Before the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Slovenia was the richest and most industrialized of all the republics of the Union. With only eight percent of Yugoslavia’s total population, the republic accounted for 17 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 30 percent of exports to Western Europe. In the first period after independence, the country experienced a short-term economic decline. After a few years of economic decline and high unemployment, economic growth increased, while unemployment fell. As the first of the new EU countries, Slovenia joined the Eurozone in 2007.

Slovenia GDP (Nominal, $USD) 2003-2017

Of the service industries, finance (banking, insurance) and tourism are particularly important sources of income for Slovenia.

Since 2014, Slovenia has experienced strong growth. GDP increased by 2.3 percent in 2015, 3.1 percent in 2016 and 4.0 percent in 2017. GDP per capita in 2017 amounted to USD 34,100. Unemployment in 2017 was 6.8 percent and inflation at 1.6 percent.

Abbreviated as SLO by, Slovenia has an excellent infrastructure and a well-trained workforce.

Agriculture and forestry

The total agricultural area constitutes 22.8 percent of the land. More than half of the agricultural land is used as pasture. Among other things, it is grown maize, wheat, sugar beets, potatoes, cabbage and fruit (apples and pears, as well as grapes for wine production). Cattle are especially kept for milk and meat production, poultry and pigs, as well as some sheep. In 2016, agriculture’s contribution to GDP was 2.3 percent

62.3 percent of the country is covered by forests, and forestry has traditionally been an important industry. Most of the harvest goes to timber and pulp.


The farming of fish, mainly trout and carp, has increased in recent years. In 2016, production was 1612 tonnes. Deep sea fishing, on the other hand, is negligible. According to Eurostats, only 200 tonnes were fished in 2015.

Mining, energy

In 2015, the coal mine at Velenje, 58 km northeast of the capital Ljubljana, produced 3.2 million tonnes of coal. The mining business employs 1300 people, and it is planned to continue mining until 2054. In addition, lead and zinc are recovered, as well as smaller amounts of salt, oil and natural gas. Slovenia has smaller deposits of uranium and mercury.

31.9 percent of the country’s energy consumption is covered by hydropower. Slovenia has one nuclear power plant in Krsk, which was built in 1983 to meet energy needs in both Slovenia and Croatia. By a 1995 agreement, ownership of the power plant was shared equally between the two countries. This power plant covers 34.4 percent of Slovenia’s energy needs, while coal accounts for 31.8 per cent. Slovenia imports both oil and gas.

  • Paulsourcing: Top 10 tips for doing business in Slovenia, covering country profile and market entry requirement.


The largest industrial branches are the metal and workshop industries, which are located in Ljubljana and Celje, among others. There is considerable electronic industry in Ljubljana, and the textile industry in Maribor and Kranj. The heavy industry is particularly located in Ljubljana and Jesenice. Otherwise, chemicals, foodstuffs, wood-based products (including paper), footwear, motor vehicles etc. are produced.

Industrial production, which in 2017 contributed 32 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, grew by 2.5 percent this year. 31.7 percent of the country’s working population was then employed in the industry.

Foreign Trade

Slovenia exports machinery and transport equipment, in particular electrical appliances, office machines, road machinery and parts, clothing and accessories and chemicals. The main import goods are machinery and transport equipment, chemicals and various factory products.

  • COUNTRYAAH: Find major trading partners of Slovenia, including major exports and major imports with latest trade value and market share as well as growth rate.

In 2017, total exports amounted to USD 30.23 billion, while imports were USD 28.7 billion.

In 2016, Slovenia’s five main export markets were as follows: Germany (19.3 percent), Italy (10.4 percent), Austria (7.5 percent), Croatia (7.3 percent) and Hungary (4.4 percent). The five most important markets for Slovenian imports were: Germany (16.8 percent), Italy (13.5 percent), Austria (9.9 percent), Croatia (5.5 percent) and China (4.8 percent).

Transport and Communications

Slovenia’s geographical location means that the country is a natural transit country for road and rail traffic between northern and southern Europe, and there are good connections especially in the northwest-southeast direction. There are a total of 38 985 km of roads. The railway network is at 1229 km. Koper is the country’s most important port city. In 2016, 22 million tonnes of goods were loaded/ unloaded at the port, representing a six percent increase over 2015. The port of Koper is a duty-free zone. Other important ports are PortoroΕΎ and Izola. There is some transport on the river Drava, which is a bee to the Danube.

Note: the capital city of Slovenia is Ljubljana with a population of 286,000 (estimate 2019). Other major cities include Maribor with a population of 109,000, Crane with a population of 42,500, Celje with a population of 38,000 (estimate 2019).

Slovenia Economics and Business

About the author