Henceforth, Statistics Netherlands is going to publish figures about volume of total imports and exports of goods on a monthly basis. The figures will be adjusted for working day patterns. Until now Statistics Netherlands only published monthly figures on the value of international trade. Volume figures are generally considered more relevant to describe the current economic situation. International trade is very important to Dutch economy. Exports are often the first indicators to signal economic recovery.
Current information on imports and exports
In the information on imports and exports provided by Statistics Netherlands, a distinction can be made between variables closely related to the source and variables which, at a higher aggregation level, are fully integrated in Quarterly accounts (as part of the system of National accounts). Monthly source figures are based on customs documents, or direct surveys conducted among importers and exporters, and provide detailed information. In Quarterly accounts figures on international trade broken down by category of goods are compared with demand and supply of goods as gauged by other statistical surveys conducted by Statistics Netherlands. On account of the result, source data on imports and exports can be revised .
Monthly figures on the value of imports and exports are published broken down by category of goods, country of origin and country of destination. These figures are not revised for price fluctuations. On the other hand, in Quarterly accounts, volume figures on imports and exports are published in addition to value figures, but these are less detailed than monthly value figures.
Monthly volume figures on international trade
As from now volume figures on total imports and exports of goods will also be published on a monthly basis. The series is based on monthly figures on value of imports and exports.
The deflators (price index figures) which are used, are based on monthly producer prices, weightings from Quarterly accounts and weightings from value figures on imports and exports.
Graph 1 shows that volume growth of exports is slowing down somewhat in 2005. The same applies to countries surrounding the Netherlands. Global trade growth is slackening.
Graph 1: Exports of goods
Indicators corrected for working day patterns
Apart from price developments, monthly figures on imports and exports are also affected by the composition of weekdays and weekend days. On some days trading is more active than on other days. If a particular months has more of these days in comparison to the same month one year previously, the picture becomes distorted.
Statistics Netherlands presents a series corrected for differences in working day patterns simultaneous with volume figures on total imports and exports. These figures are revised for holidays, leap days and for the difference between weekdays and weekend days. The series revised for workdays and price changes shows a more regular pattern for export developments. This series is assumed to provide the most relevant information about the economic situation.
Graph 2: Exports of goods (volume)