Higher oil and food prices affecting Dutch exports

10/06/2008 15:00

The high rate of the euro and rising food and oil prices are having a noticeable effect on Dutch exports. In the first quarter of 2008, the increase in exports to countries outside Europe was smaller than in 2007. Exports of mineral fuels and food grew by more.

Increase in value of exports by region

Increase in value of exports by region

Exports to US decreasing

Exports to regions outside the European Union grew by 7 percent in the first quarter of  2008. This was less than the average quarterly growth in 2007. Exports to the United States even fell by 6 percent in the first quarter. One reason for this may be the high rate of the euro, which makes it less favourable for countries outside the EU to buy Dutch products.

Increase in value of Dutch exports

Increase in value of Dutch exports

Total exports grew by more in the first quarter of 2008 than the average for 2007. The value of exports was 11 percent higher in the first quarter of this year than twelve months previously. In 2007 average growth was 9 percent. The larger increase in the first quarter of 2008 was caused mainly by a larger increase in exports to EU countries. More than three-quarters of Dutch exports go to the EU.

Increasing export value of mineral fuels and food

In the first quarter of 2008 exports of raw materials and mineral fuels, such as gas oil and petrol, were 41 percent higher than twelve months previously. This increase is much larger than in 2007, and was caused mainly by higher oil prices and increased natural gas exports.

Exports of beverages and food, including cheese, grew by more than in 2007. Exports of computers and computer components on the other hand decreased in the first three months of 2008.

Increase in value of exports by product category

Increase in value of exports by product category

Higher prices push up export value

The picture of Dutch exports is distorted by price increases and the number of working days in a certain period. In the first quarter of 2008, for example, the price of crude oil in euros was nearly one and a half times as high as twelve months previously. And although 2008 is a leap year, the first quarter had one working day fewer than in 2007.

After correction for these price increases and working day effects, exports in the first quarter of 2008 rose by 7 percent. This volume growth  was slightly smaller than in 2007.

Oscar Lemmers