According to a recent study by Statistics Netherlands, goods exports from the Netherlands were 0.25 percent lower in the first ten months of 2014 than in the same period in 2013, mainly as a result of lower market prices.
Lower oil and gas prices push exports down substantially
The decrease in exports was almost completely accounted for by the 9.8 billion euros decrease in exports of crude oil, oil products and natural gas. Exports in the remaining sectors failed to compensate for this: they grew by 8.9 billion euros. Dutch manufacturers of specialised machinery, in particular, saw exports rise. Exports of products manufactured in the Netherlands are much more significant than re-exports for Dutch export trade.
Change in export value by product category (from Jan-Oct 2013 to Jan-Oct 2014)
Unfavourable trade climate for oil and gas
Trade in oil and oil products in the period January to October 2014 was negatively affected by changing market conditions such as relocation of production to Asia. Continuing geopolitical tensions in Europe and the Middle East and shale gas extraction added to this. As their stocks increased, oil and oil products were exported at lower prices.
Exports of natural gas were also lower, as mild weather pushed down demand. Gas prices were lower in the first ten months of 2014 than in the same period in 2013. Lower natural gas exports had a negative effect of around 1 percent on total exports.
Lower exports to Germany, higher exports to US and Brazil
Natural gas and motor fuels are the main Dutch export products to Germany. These Dutch products were a substantial factor in the decrease of exports to Germany.
In the period January to October 2014, exports of specialised machines produced in the Netherlands moved from Taiwan to the United States. In addition, exports of pharmaceuticals to the US rose (re-exports).
Dutch-built ships accounted for most of the increase in exports to Brazil. These are used in the Brazilian oil industry to lay underwater pipelines.
Largest increases and decreases by product (from Jan-Oct 2013 to Jan-Oct 2014)
Largest increases and decreases by country (from Jan-Oct 2013 to Jan-Oct 2014)