The volume of exports of goods was 3.1 percent down in May 2014 from May 2013. This is the largest decrease in the last four and a half years. In the months prior to the decrease in May, exports had grown modestly. Because of the relatively mild weather conditions in the first months of 2014, foreign demand for natural gas was considerably lower than twelve months previously. Natural gas exports also fell in May, but the decrease was mainly the result of lower exports of petroleum derivatives.
The volume of imported goods was 0.7 percent lower in May 2014 than in May 2013. 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 fell in May. Earlier this month, Statistics Netherlands announced that the growth of manufacturing output was smaller in May than in the preceding months. Nevertheless, the mood among manufacturers remains positive. 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)
More than 35 billion euros worth of goods exported
The value of exported goods totalled almost 35.5 billion euros in May, i.e. 5.1 percent down from one year previously. The value of imported goods fell by 3.1 percent in May to 32,1 billion euros, resulting in a trade surplus of 3.3 billion euros (0.9 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 was lower both within and outside the EU.
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.
The monthly figures on international trade in goods have not been adjusted to the new concepts and definitions of the National Accounts as yet. The transition is planned for mid-September.
More figures can be found on the theme page International Trade.
For more information on economic indicators, see the Economic Monitor.