Extra-euro area trade in goods
From Statistics Explained
- Data from May 2012. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.
The aim of this article is to provide an overwiew of the main characteristics of the extra-euro area trade in goods. All the series between 2000 and 2011 have been recalculated to include all the 17 members of the euro area (EA-17).
Main statistical findings
In 2011, extra-euro area (EA-17) trade increased to EUR 3 480 billion from EUR 3 089 billion in 2010, corresponding to a growth of 12.7 %. EA-17 imports rose by 12.5 % and exports by 12.8 %. The EA-17 trade balance went from a deficit of EUR 15 billion in 2010 to a deficit of EUR 11 billion in 2011.
In 2011, the United Kingdom was the leading partner for extra-EA-17 exports, accounting for 12.3 % of all exports, followed by the United States. China led for imports with 12.4 % of total EA-17 imports, followed by the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia.
Both import and export trade were dominated by machinery and vehicles, followed by 'other manufactured goods'. In 2011, machinery and vehicles made up 41.5 % of EA-17 exports and 31.2 % of EA-17 imports.
Euro area trade by main partners
Over the whole period 2000-2011, the United Kingdom was the leading trading partner for extra EA-17 trade, followed by the United States. For EA-17, there was always a positive trade balance with both countries. In 2011, the United Kingdom accounted for 11 % of all extra EA-17 trade and the United States for 10 %. China was the third most important trading partner in 2011, only marginally behind the United States and Russia was fourth with 6 %.
Every year over the period, the United Kingdom was the leading trading partner for extra EA-17 exports, with an increase in trade value of 13 % between 2000 and 2011. The United States was second every year with an increase over the same period of 14 %.
EA-17 trade with China increased by 347 % between 2000 and 2011, with imports always significantly higher than exports. By 2007, China had overtaken the United Kingdom and the United States to become the leading trading partner for extra EA-17 imports and has remained in that position since. In 2011, EA-17 trade with China totalled EUR 332 billion, of which EUR 217 billion were imports. The United Kingdom was the second most important trading partner for EA-17 imports in 2011. In spite of a fall of 2 % over the period 2000-2011, the United States was third and Russia was fourth.
EA-17 trade with Russia grew by 251 % over the period, with imports always higher than exports. In 2011, EA-17 trade with Russia totalled EUR 219 billion, of which EUR 139 billion were imports. The United Kingdom, the United States, China and Russia together accounted for 36 % of all extra-EA-17 trade in 2011.
Euro area trade by product
By far the most important trade group for both extra EA-17 imports and exports was machinery and vehicles, with a trade value in 2011 of EUR 1 212 billion. EUR 712 billion were exports which represented 41 % of the value of all extra EA-17 exports in 2011. Within that group, exports of road vehicles in 2011, with an increase of 15 % on 2010, amounted to EUR 189 billion.
EA-17 imports of machinery and vehicles were dominated by electrical machinery which increased by 28 % between 2000 and 2011 and amounted to EUR 107 billion in 2011. In spite of a fall in 2009, 2011 imports were 17 % higher than in 2008.
In 2011, the second most important trading group for extra EA-17 trade was other manufactured goods, with trading values amounting to EUR 842 billion, of which EUR 423 billion were imports.
Import trade was dominated by articles of apparel and clothing accessories (EUR 65 billion), miscellaneous manufactured articles (EUR 58 billion), and professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus (EUR 32 billion). Imports of all these categories fell in 2009 but recovered in both 2010 and 2011. Export trade for other manufactured goods was dominated by miscellaneous manufactured articles (EUR 57 billion) and professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus (EUR 45 billion).
Looking at the product groups that showed a trade deficit for extra EA-17 in 2011, total trade in energy products amounted to EUR 522 billion of which EUR 425 billion were imports. The dominant imports were petroleum and petroleum products amounting to EUR 322 billion, which represented 18 % of the value of all EA-17 imports in 2011 and an increase of 29 % on 2010.
Total trade in raw materials in 2011 amounted to EUR 134 billion of which EUR 89 billion were imports. The most imported products in this group were metalliferous ores and metal scrap, with an increase of 23 % in 2011 to reach EUR 38 billion.
Data sources and availability
EU data comes from Eurostat’s COMEXT database. COMEXT is the Eurostat reference database for international trade. It provides access not only to both recent and historical data from the EU Member States but also to statistics of a significant number of third countries. International trade aggregated and detailed statistics disseminated from Eurostat website are compiled from COMEXT data according to a monthly process. Because COMEXT is updated on a daily basis, data published on the website may differ from data stored in COMEXT in case of recent revisions.
EU data are compiled according to community guidelines and may, therefore, differ from national data published by Member States. Statistics on extra-euro area trade are calculated as the sum of trade of each of the euro area Member States with countries outside the euro area (including EU Members which are not in the euro area). In other words, the euro area is considered as a single trading entity and trade flows are measured into and out of the area, but not within it.
The euro area is a large and open trading bloc. This makes doing business in euro an attractive proposition for other trading nations, which can access a large market using one currency. Euro area companies also benefit because they can export and import in the global economy while paying, and being paid, in euro, reducing the risk of losses caused by global currency fluctuations.
Further Eurostat information
- External and intra-European Union trade - Data 2004-09
- Extra euro area trade rose by a fifth in 2010 after a fall in 2009
- International trade, see:
- International trade data (t_ext)
- International trade long-term indicators (t_ext_lti)
- International trade short-term indicators (t_ext_sti)
- International trade data (ext)
- International trade long-term indicators (ext_lti)
- International trade short-term indicators (ext_sti)
- International trade detailed data (detail)
Methodology / Metadata
- International trade data (ESMS metadata file - ext_esms)