Exports to countries outside the EU improving

27/10/2009 15:00

The value of Dutch exports to countries outside the European Union (EU) is nearly back to the level of one year ago. In August, the value of exports was only 4 percent down on the level of one year previously.

As yet no improvement exports to EU countries

The value of exports to non-EU countries plummeted by 20 percent in April. Subsequently, an upward trend became apparent. In August, the decline had been reduced to 4 percent. The value of exports to EU countries was still 24 percent lower in August than one year previously. The value of Dutch exports to EU countries has dropped by more than 20 percent for five months in a row now relative to the same month in the preceding year.

Dutch exports, September 2008 - August 2009

Dutch exports, September 2008 - August 2009

Economies outside EU on the road to recovery

The budding economic recovery apparent in certain countries outside the European Union largely accounts for the differences in export flows to EU and non-EU countries.  China’s economy, for example, grew by nearly 8 percent in the second quarter of 2009. At the same time, the EU economies as a whole shrank by nearly 5 percent.

Plummeting gas prices

Differences in exports to EU and non-EU countries can also be partly attributed to the steep drop in Dutch gas prices. Dutch natural gas is mainly exported to EU countries. Plummeting gas prices entail a serious reduction in the export value of natural gas to EU countries.

Many products manufactured in the Netherlands exported to non-EU countries

The value of Dutch exports to EU countries is about three times as high as exports to non-EU countries. A relatively large part of products manufactured in the Netherlands (66 percent of total export value) are exported to non-EU countries. For exports to EU countries, this is 54 percent. This percentage is important, because exports of one euro worth of products manufactured in the Netherlands contributes more than six times as much to the Dutch economy as one euro worth of re-exported products.

Share exports of Dutch-made products in total export value, September 2008 - August 2009

Share exports of Dutch-made products in total export value, September 2008 - August 2009

Sharp growth exports to China, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia

The Netherlands’ most important export destination outside the EU is the United States. The three fastest growing export destinations for the Netherlands are: China (+240 million euro in 2009), Switzerland (+137 million euro) and Saudi Arabia (+97 million euro). These countries import, for example, more machinery and gas oil from the Netherlands relative to a year ago.

Fastest growing export destinations for the Netherlands, January-August

Fastest growing export destinations for the Netherlands, January-August

Pascal Ramaekers