Exports nosedive in January

27/03/2009 09:30

In January 2009, the volume of goods exports was more than 14 percent down on twelve months previously. The volume of goods imports decreased by more than 13 percent. Volume figures have been corrected for the number of working days. January 2009 was one working day down on January 2008. A decline of this magnitude has not occurred since the beginning of the time series in 1990.

In November and December 2008, exports were also considerably down on one year ago. The steep decline in exports was anticipated. Figures published in an earlier stage about the dramatic reduction in manufacturing output and increasing pessimism among manufacturers about the amount of orders received from abroad already suggested a downturn. The level of  the number of orders received from abroad was low in January according to 37 percent of manufacturers. In February, the percentage increased to 42 percent.

The value of goods exports was 24.4 billion euro, i.e. a 21 percent drop relative to one year previously. The value of imports dropped by 22 percent to 21.8 billion euro. This resulted in a trade surplus of 2.7 billion euro, i.e. 0.5 billion euro down on January 2008.

The value of exports of machinery and transport equipment was noticeably lower. The value of imports of mineral fuels, like crude oil and petroleum products, also dropped considerably, partly as a result of plummeting oil prices. The decrease in goods trade with EU countries more or less equalled the decrease in trade with non-EU countries.

January’s import and export prices dropped by 7 percent and 5 percent respectively relative to one year previously. The decline in import and export prices was chiefly caused by plummeting petroleum prices. As a result, the terms of trade of foreign goods improved compared to January 2008.

The figures on January 2009 published in this update have been adjusted from those published on 13 March. The revision is based on new and more detailed information.

 Goods exports (volume)

Goods exports (volume)

More figures can be found on the theme page International trade.