Exports down

The volume of exports of goods was 2.8 percent down in May 2014 from May 2013. A decline of this magnitude has not occurred in the past four and a half years. In the months prior to the decline in May, exports had grown modestly. Due to the relatively mild weather conditions in the first months of 2014, the foreign demand for natural gas was considerably lower than twelve months previously. Natural gas exports also fell in May, but the decline is mainly the result of lower exports of petroleum derivatives.

Dutch imports grew in May. The volume of imported goods was 1.3 percent higher than in May 2013. The growth of imports relative to twelve months previously was marginally up from April. Volume figures have been adjusted for the number of working days.

Re-exports and exports of Dutch products down

Exports of products manufactured in the Netherlands declined in May. Earlier this month, Statistics Netherlands announced that the growth of manufacturing output was less substantial in May than in the preceding months. Nevertheless, the mood among manufacturers remains cautiously optimistic. Re-exports of imported goods leaving the country without undergoing any significant industrial processing were also down from May 2013.

Exports of goods (volume adjusted for working days)

Exports of goods (volume adjusted for working days)

Nearly 36 billion euros worth of goods exported

The value of exported goods totalled 35.5 billion euros in May, i.e. 4.8 percent down from one year previously. The value of imported goods fell by 1.1 percent in May to 32,2 billion euros, resulting in a trade surplus of 3.3 billion euros (1.4 billion euros down from May 2013).

The export value of manufactured products, machinery and transport equipment was in up May from twelve months previously, but not enough to offset the substantially lower export value of natural gas and petroleum derivatives. The value of exports within as well as outside the EU was lower.

Lower import and export prices

Import as well as export prices were down from May 2013, so terms of trade remained unchanged.

Circumstances for Dutch exports in July the same as in June

According to July’s Export Radar, circumstances for Dutch exports remained stable relative to the preceding month. Circumstances for exports have been fairly stable over the past three months. They deteriorated compared to March and April. This is mainly due to a slowdown in the growth rate of German manufacturing output. By means of six indicators, the Exports Radar shows whether circumstances for Dutch exports have become more or less favourable.

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

For more information on economic indicators, see the Economic Monitor.