Germany accounts for 30 percent of Dutch steel exports

In 2017, the Netherlands exported 2.7 billion euros worth of steel to Germany, making Germany the single largest market for Dutch steel exports with a share of approximately 30 percent. Statistics Netherlands reports this today in response to enquiries by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

After Germany, the next largest steel purchasing countries are Belgium (12 percent), France (9 percent), the United Kingdom (8 percent) and the United States (6 percent). In 2017, steel exports to the US amounted to 570 million euros.

Not all steel that is exported by the Netherlands is produced locally. A large share is initially imported and, possibly after some processing, leaves the country again. These so-called re-exports generate considerably less revenue for the Dutch economy than the export of Dutch-made products. Altogether, the Netherlands exported 9 billion euros worth of steel in 2017, the bulk of which was domestically produced with a minor share constituting re-exports. Domestically produced goods also include foreign goods which have undergone major processing in the Netherlands.

Top 10 destinations for Dutch steel exports, 2017
 Value (million euros)
United Kingdom697
United States570

One-quarter to half of all exports to nearby destinations are re-exports. In the case of Germany, almost half are re-exports. By contrast, the vast majority of goods exported to the United States are Dutch-manufactured. The US is therefore the largest market for Dutch-produced steel (excluding re-exports) after Germany and Belgium.

Volume of exports has been stable for several years

In terms of volume, Dutch steel exports have been fairly stable since 2011. The volume stood at 11.0 billion kg of steel in 2017; roughly equal to 2011, but slightly higher than in 2016, when it amounted to 10.5 billion kg. The value development of Dutch steel exports has followed a similar pattern. Last year, the value did increase more rapidly than the volume due to rising prices.

Developments in Dutch steel exports
 Export value (bn euros) (bn kg / euros)Export volume (bn kg) (bn kg / euros)

The Netherlands a medium-sized international player

According to the World Steel Association, China is the world’s largest crude steel producer at a staggering 832 billion kg. Following China are Japan, India, the US, Russia, South Korea and Germany. The Netherlands ranks 24th as crude steel producer (2017), but it is relatively active on the international market: in 2016, it was the world’s 14th largest and the EU’s 5th largest steel exporter (after Germany, Italy, Belgium and France). At 108 billion kg, China is the single largest exporter worldwide.

The world’s largest importer of steel is the United States with 31 billion kg in 2016. Most of its steel imports originate from Canada, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico and Russia. The Netherlands ranks 17th as importer of steel. The US is also the largest net importer, because it imports much more than it exports. The Netherlands is a net exporter of steel and occupies 12th place in this ranking.

Largest net exporters (exports minus imports), 2016
 Value (bn kg)
South Korea7.3
Source: World Steel Association

Revenues from Dutch basic metal industry exports

In 2015, the Dutch economy earned over 2.7 billion euros in direct exports by the Dutch basic metal industry, where crude steel and other metals are produced in their primary form. Half of that amount was generated by the basic metal industry itself, the other half by other sectors which contribute to production and exports of crude steel. Chief among these are the wholesale sector (224 million euros) and the sector temp agencies (133 million euros).

Dutch basic metal industry export revenues, 2015
 Waarde (million euros in export revenues)
Basic metal industry1374
Wholesale and commission trade224
Temping and placement agencies133
Sewage, waste management, remediation101
Repair and installation of machinery95
Energy companies82
Banking industry68
Holdings and management consultancy firms65
Metal manufacturing54
Machinery industry37
Legal services and administration34
Extraction of petroleum and natural gas33
Overland transportation32
IT service provision30
Public administration and public services28

The Netherlands also earns from exports to the US indirectly

The Netherlands earns export revenues not only from exports by its own basic metal industry, but also indirectly, from exports by basic metal industries in other countries. This happens when the Netherlands supplies goods or offers services to such industries.

In the case of exports to the US, the indirect revenues (from exports by other countries to the US) were even nearly twice as high as the direct revenues (280 versus 150 million euros in 2014). The indirect effect is mainly achieved through Germany. Exports by the German basic metal industry to the US yielded approximately 64 million euros in 2014. This included, for example, supplies of Dutch raw materials or services to the German basic metal industry as part of exports to the US. The situation was very different back in 1995. Back then, the Netherlands earned more from direct Dutch exports to the US than indirectly from exports by other countries to the US (182 versus 107 million euros).

Revenues from exports to the US via basic metal industries in other countries
 2014 (million euros in export revenues)1995 (million euros in export revenues)
United Kingdom176
South Korea151
Source: CBS, OECD