Exports down by over 2 percent in December

© Hollandse Hoogte / David Rozing
As reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), the total volume of goods exports shrank by 2.2 percent in December 2018 relative to one year previously. The year-on-year decrease was larger than in November. The strongest declines in December were seen in the export of electro-technical equipment and chemical products. On the other hand, exports of machinery and petroleum products increased. The volume of imports was 1.7 percent higher than in December 2017.

Overall growth in both imports and exports is affected negatively by a large company which relocated part of its business activities to another country as of October 2018. Furthermore, both 24 and 31 December fell on a Monday in 2018. In accordance with European regulations, the results have not been adjusted for these optional bridging days.

The CBS Exports Radar indicates that circumstances for exports in February are less favourable than in December.

Exports of goods (volume, adjusted for working days) (year-on-year % change)
Year Month%- change
2015January7
February4.6
March3.5
April5.5
May5.8
June4.9
July5.3
August6.6
September3.5
October5.6
November4.4
December4
2016January4.3
February3.5
March3.7
April5.5
May6.4
June2.4
July2.9
August3
September5.8
October3.2
November6.2
December5.1
2017January1.2
February6.3
March7.9
April0.6
May4.6
June10.6
July7.1
August7.2
September7.8
October7.1
November7
December6.1
2018January5.1
February3
March2.4
April6.7
May4.5
June-0.4
July2.4
August2.6
September2
October2.3
November-0.8
December-2.2

Conditions for exports in February less favourable than in December

Every month, CBS also publishes updates on the circumstances for exports in the Exports Radar. Conditions are strongly affected by recent developments on the main export markets for Dutch products and by the competitive position of the Netherlands. Although the Radar indicators show a strong correlation with export activity, improved circumstances are not necessarily translated into increased export growth.

According to the CBS Exports Radar, circumstances for Dutch exports in February are less favourable than in December. This is mainly due to a deterioration in the year-on-year development of manufacturing output in Germany. In addition, producer confidence in Germany and in the eurozone as a whole was less positive.

Goods exports account for approximately three-quarters of total exports. As for data on exports of services, these are not published monthly. Data on total exports are published quarterly and annually. Figures published in this news release are provisional and subject to revision.

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