In 2004 the value of imported and exported goods was 10 percent up on 2003. The value of imports reached 228.0 billion euro, exports 257.8 billion euro, according to provisional figures published by Statistics Netherlands. The effect of slightly higher import and export prices in 2004 compared to 2003 needs to be taken into account. The value of imports and exports in 2003 was 1 percent up on the previous year.
Higher growth rates than in the countries around us
The increase by 10 percent in the Netherlands is higher than in the neighbouring countries. The German Federal Statistical Office, for instance, recently published growth rates showing that the value of imports and exports had risen by 7 and 10 percent respectively over the whole year 2004. The corresponding figures for the United Kingdom were 5 and 1 percent compared to 2003. The Central Bank of Belgium released figures over the first eleven months of 2004 showing that imports and exports had risen by 9 and 10 percent respectively. Growth rates over the first eleven months of 2004 released by the French and Danish national statistical offices were also lower than the Dutch figures.
Sharpest rise in raw materials and mineral fuels
The sharpest rise in 2004 was reported in the imports and exports of raw materials and mineral fuels. Higher oil and steel prices largely caused the value of imports to rise by 22 and the value of exports by 19 percent compared to 2003. Trade in chemical products with other countries also grew above average in 2004. The sector foods and drinks, on the other hand, traditionally less easily affected by market fluctuations, showed more modest results; imports rose by 4 percent, exports by 5 percent in 2004.
Substantial increase in exports to India, China and the Czech Republic
The value of exports to virtually all countries increased in 2004 compared to 2003. Exports to the Czech Republic, China, Taiwan and India increased in the range of 40 to 60 percent, relatively high compared to important trading partners of the Netherlands like Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom and France. The increase in exports to these countries was in the range of 7 to 12 percent. The growth rates for imports from China and the ten countries which recently joined the EU were on average higher than those for imports from other countries. Machinery and transport equipment were the most important import products from these countries.
Imports and exports higher in December 2004
In December 2004 the value of imported goods amounted to 20.6 billion euro, 14 percent up on December 2003. The value of exported goods grew by 15 percent to reach 22.6 billion euro. It should be taken into account that there were two extra working days in December 2004 compared to the last month of 2003.
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