Exports down by almost 12 percent in May

In May 2020, the total volume of goods exports shrank by 11.8 percent year-on-year, as reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS). The contraction was lower than in the previous month. In May, exports of transport equipment and petroleum products decreased in particular. Domestic exports contracted more significantly than re-exports. The volume of imports was 7.6 percent lower year-on-year. In May, imports of transport equipment, machinery and clothing declined in particular.

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

Exports of goods (volume, adjusted for working days)
Year Month%-change (year-on-year %-change)
2016June2.3
2016July2.9
2016August3
2016September5.8
2016October3.3
2016November6.4
2016December5.3
2017January1.6
2017February6.8
2017March8.3
2017April0.7
2017May4.6
2017June10.7
2017July7.1
2017August7.3
2017September7.9
2017October7
2017November7.1
2017December6.2
2018January4.8
2018February4.3
2018March3.1
2018April6.2
2018May5.3
2018June0.4
2018July2.7
2018August4
2018September3
2018October3.4
2018November0.4
2018December0.6
2019January2.2
2019February-0.3
2019March1.5
2019April1.7
2019May-0.1
2019June0.7
2019July-0.1
2019August3.4
2019September1.4
2019October6.3
2019November2.3
2019December4.5
2020January3.9
2020February1.7
2020March-4.6
2020April-13.8
2020May-11.8

Conditions for exports in July more unfavourable than in May

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 July are more unfavourable than in May. This is mainly because the year-on-year decline in German manufacturing output was larger. Furthermore, Dutch and European manufacturers were more pessimistic about their foreign order position. However, producer confidence in Germany and the eurozone was less unfavourable.

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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