Exports down by 4 percent in March

© Hollandse Hoogte / Marco van Middelkoop luchtfotografie
In March 2020, the total volume of goods exports shrank by 4.0 percent year-on-year, as reported by Statistics Netherlands. This is the first contraction in exports since June 2019. In March 2020, exports of transporting equipment and machinery decreased in particular. However, exports of petroleum and chemical products increased year-on-year. The volume of imports was 3.7 percent lower than in March 2019. In March 2020, imports of minerals, transport equipment and clothing were down in particular.

The CBS Exports Radar indicates that in May circumstances for exports are less favourable than they were in March.

Exports of goods (volume, adjusted for working days)
Year Month%-change (year-on-year %-change)
2016April5.4
2016May6.3
2016June2.3
2016July2.9
2016August3
2016September5.8
2016October3.3
2016November6.4
2016December5.3
2017January1.7
2017February6.7
2017March8.3
2017April0.7
2017May4.6
2017June10.8
2017July7
2017August7.2
2017September7.8
2017October6.9
2017November7
2017December6.1
2018January4.7
2018February4.6
2018March3.2
2018April6.8
2018May4.6
2018June0.3
2018July2.8
2018August2.7
2018September3.2
2018October3.2
2018November1
2018December0.5
2019January2.2
2019February-0.5
2019March1.1
2019April1.5
2019May-0.3
2019June0.6
2019July0
2019August3.5
2019September1.4
2019October5.6
2019November2.2
2019December4.6
2020January2.9
2020February0.9
2020March-4
 

Exports and imports

In March, exports to Germany and the United Kingdom were substantially lower than one year previously. This was mainly due ta sharp drop in exports of transport equipment. In terms of imports, petroleum and natural gas from Russia and Norway plummeted in particular.

Conditions for exports in May more unfavourable than in March

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 exports in May are more unfavourable than in March. This is mainly because producer confidence in Germany and the eurozone was down. Furthermore, Dutch and European manufacturers were more pessimistic about their foreign order position. In addition, the year-on-year decline in German manufacturing output was more substantial.

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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