export turnover grows

Trade turmoil hits Dutch confidence

A respected annual survey of exporters in the Netherlands finds confidence down for the first time in years but notes there is still plenty of room for optimism.

The ongoing trade wars, political turmoil, a seemingly unending Brexit saga and hefty trade deficits have all served to dampen the confidence of Dutch exporters on the future of global trade, according to the annual Trends in Export Report from the logistics and international trade organization, Evofenedex.

The Dutch companies surveyed scored their confidence level at 6.6 across the board, a decline from 7.2 percent last year, which marks the first time in years the key metric from the report has decreased.

Some other key findings include,

  • Exporters seeing their export turnover grow by 9 percent in 2018, which exactly matches the forecast. With the exception of 2016, export growth has been 8 percent or 9 percent for years which also keeps 2018 at the same level.
  • For the coming year, exporters expect an average export growth of 8 percent, which is not significantly different from most previous years.
  • And 36 percent of the exporters have entered one or more new markets in 2018. That remains steady with 2017 after a decline in recent years.
  • More than half of Dutch exporters, 53 percent, achieved export growth in 2018.
  • After getting bumped out of the list of top 10 export destinations last year, Poland, Spain and Sweden are back in the top group this year. They are joined by last year’s newcomers Greece, the Czech Republic and Finland.
Dutch exporters
Dutch exporters

The annual survey is produced by the business association Evofenedex in collaboration with trade insurance provider Atradius. Evofenedex sends its survey to its more than 4,000 members. Industry and regional experts consider the report to be a highly reliable reflection of exporters sentiments on market conditions and the economy.

In a statement released with the report, Bart Jan Koopman, Director of Evofenede , and Tom Kaars Sijpesteijn, Director Atradius the Netherlands, said the dip in confidence is no surprise considering what traders have been reading and seeing in the media for the past two years.

They noted the political swirl around U.S. President Donald Trump, economic issues in China, Italian budget deficits, the failures of Brexit, the coming European elections, and a worldwide expansion of protectionism.

On the positive side they also point to the stability of credit markets and credit worthiness, EU economic stability, and that the long-term outlook for real growth appears unchallenged.