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Friday, 13 January 2012

The Euro-zone presented an export surplus for November 2011, in spite of the credit crisis blazing up


Today, the European bureau for statistics ‘Eurostat’ presented the November 2011 trade data for the Euro-zone and the whole European Union. From a Euro-zone point of view the data was surprisingly good: The Euro-zone achieved in November an export surplus of €6,9bln. 

The whole EU-27 had a deficit of €7.2bln for November 2011. Here are the pertinent snips from Eurostat (ec.europa.eu/eurostat).


7.2 bn euro deficit for EU27

The first estimate for euro area (EA17) trade with the rest of the world in November 2011 gave a 6.9 bn euro surplus, compared with -2.3 bn euro in November 2010.

The October 2011 balance was +1.0 bn, compared with +3.1 bn in October 2010. In November 2011 compared with October 2011, seasonally adjusted exports rose by 3.9%, while imports remained stable. The first estimate for the November 2011 extra-EU27 trade balance was a 7.2 bn euro deficit, compared with -16.8 bn in November 2010. In October 2011 the balance was -11.2 bn, compared with -9.5 bn in October 2010.

In November 2011 compared with October 2011, seasonally adjusted exports rose by 2.8%, while imports fell by 0.6%.

EU27 detailed results for January to October 2011

The EU27 deficit for energy increased significantly (-317.5 bn euro in January-October 2011 compared with -246.4 bn in January-October 2010), while the surplus for manufactured goods rose notably (+198.9 bn compared with +136.4 bn).

EU27 trade with all its major partners grew in January-October 2011 compared with January-October 2010, except for imports from South Korea (-8%). The highest increases were recorded for exports to Russia (+28%), Turkey (+23%), China (+21%) and India (+20%), and for imports from Russia (+26%), Norway (+21%), Brazil and India (both +20%).

The EU27 trade surplus increased slightly with the USA (+60.8 bn euro in January-October 2011 compared with +60.1 bn in January-October 2010) and more significantly with Switzerland (+24.1 bn compared with +16.6 bn) and Turkey (+21.3 bn compared with +14.7 bn).

The EU27 trade deficit fell with China (-132.2 bn compared with -139.8 bn),  Japan  (-16.1 bn compared with -18.3 bn) and  South Korea  (-3.9 bn compared with -9.6 bn), but increased with Russia (-76.0 bn compared with -61.1 bn) and Norway (-38.7 bn compared with -29.8 bn).

Concerning the total trade of Member States, the largest surplus was observed in Germany (+129.2 bn euro in January-October 2011), followed by Ireland and the Netherlands (both +35.9 bn) and Belgium (+10.1 bn). The United Kingdom (-98.2 bn) registered the largest deficit, followed by France (-72.5 bn), Spain (-40.1 bn), Italy (-24.2 bn), Greece (-16.9 bn), Portugal (-13.3 bn) and Poland (-12.0 bn).

In general you could say that the data looks surprisingly good for the Euro-zone and not too bad for the EU27 as a whole. Net exporters where it concerns total trade within and outside Europe for the period January until October 2011 are the usual suspects Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands and Belgium.

Negative outliers are the UK and France with huge export deficits of respectively €-98.2 bln and €-72,5 bln for the period January until October, while the PIIGS (minus Ireland, of course) and Poland also have substantial deficits.

But you see funny differences if you zoom in at the tables that were delivered with the press release, especially when you look at The Netherlands in the following two tables.

Total imports and exports within and outside the EU for the EU-27
Table courtesy of Eurostat: ec.europa.eu/eurostat
Click to enlarge
Where it concerns total trade inside and outside the EU, The Netherlands is a huge net exporter with a trade surplus of €35.9 bln (see first table).

Total imports and exports outside the EU for the EU-27
Table courtesy of Eurostat: ec.europa.eu/eurostat
Click to enlarge
But when it comes to trade outside the EU alone in October 2011 and November 2011, The Netherlands is the biggest net importer with a trade deficit of €-9 bln (see second table).

This is not as strange as it seems initially, as The Netherlands has two very large sea ports with Rotterdam and Amsterdam (number 1 and 3 on the list of largest ports in Europe in turnover) and a very important cargo airport with Schiphol.

Therefore The Netherlands is the main distribution point for imports from outside the EU and especially from the Far East. The import surplus from outside the EU is turned into an export surplus within the EU. In this case, you could say that the more negative the number in the last table is, the better the Dutch´ distribution function has operated. This is not true for the second largest net importer from outside the EU: the United Kingdom.

When imports and exports outside the EU are weighted for the Euro-zone alone, the Eurozone has almost been in balance during the last years. This is especially caused by Germany with its enormous net exports outside the European Union.

Trade of the Eurozone with countries outside EU
Data courtesy of Eurostat: ec.europa.eu/eurostat
Click to enlarge
The European Union as a whole has been a huge net importer for countries outside the EU during the last years. This is mainly caused by The Netherlandsthe countries of the former Eastern Block and the UK.

Trade of the EU-27 with countries outside EU
Data courtesy of Eurostat: ec.europa.eu/eurostat
Click to enlarge





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