According to the latest preliminary figures by Statistics Netherlands, the value of imports and exports of goods in March 2004 was substantially higher than in March 2003. Imports reached 19.2 billion euro, up 5 percent on March 2003. Exports reached 22.1 billion euro, which was a 6 percent increase.
Import and export prices fell slightly on the previous year. The rise in imports and exports was mainly caused by the fact that March 2004 had two more working days than March 2003.
Trade with European Union increased
In March 2004 the European Union still had 15 member states. The Dutch trade in goods with these other member states increased in March 2004. The value of imports increased by 2 percent, reaching 10.8 billion euro. Dutch exports were also up by 2 percent, reaching 16.4 billion euro.
Dutch trade with the ten new member states was also higher in March 2004 than in March 2003. If they had already joined the European Union in March both imports and exports to the EU25 would have been 3 percent up on March 2003.
Trade with countries outside the European Union substantially higher
In March 2004 Dutch trade with countries outside the EU increased substantially. The value of imports increased by 8 percent to 8.5 billion euro. The value of Dutch exports to countries outside the European Union was 16 percent higher than in March 2003 and worth 5.6 billion euro. This kind of increase has not occurred since January 2001; it concerned virtually all countries and all categories of goods.
Imports from Russia and China higher in the first quarter
In the first quarter of 2004 the imports from Russia and China increased substantially, by 54 and 25 percent. Increased imports from Russia consisted mainly of oil, and imports from China mainly of machinery.
The total import value in the first quarter of 2004 reached the same level as in the first quarter of 2003 thanks to the increase in March. The export value was up by 1 percent on the same period. Prices in the first quarter of 2004 were slightly lower than in 2003.
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