Unprecedented downturn terms of trade

Dutch terms of trade of imported and exported goods reached an unprecedented level of deterioration in December 2009. Prices of imported goods were 1.5 percent up on one year previously and prices of exported goods were 3.3 percent down. Since 1991 – the first year in the series – changes in import and export prices had never been wider apart.

The deterioration of terms of trade was mainly caused by price developments of petroleum and natural gas. The Netherlands imports considerably more petroleum than it exports, and exports much more natural gas than it imports. In December 2009, petroleum prices were much higher than in December 2008, whereas natural gas prices were considerably lower than one year previously.

Not only lower natural gas prices, but also cheaper chemical products accounted for the downturn in export prices. Besides higher petroleum prices, import prices were also higher due to higher prices for petroleum derivatives.

More information on terms of trade can be found in the article "Changes in the terms of trade in goods".

Terms of trade

Terms of trade

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