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Statistics Explained, your guide to European statistics. Statistics Explained is an official Eurostat website presenting statistical topics in an easily understandable way. Together, the articles make up an encyclopedia of European statistics for everyone, completed by a statistical glossary clarifying all terms used and by numerous links to further information and the latest data and metadata, a portal for occasional and regular users.
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The EU-28 accounts for around one sixth of the world’s trade in goods. The value of international trade in goods significantly exceeds that of services (by about three times), reflecting the nature of some services which makes them harder to move across borders.
Main statistical findings
EU-28 international trade in goods with the rest of the world (the sum of extra-EU exports and imports) was valued at EUR 3 419 billion (= EUR 3 419 000 million) in 2013 — see Table 2; while EU-28 exports registered a record level, imports decreased by more than EUR 100 billion in comparison with 2012. As a result, the EU-28’s trade balance was positive for the first time since the beginning of the series (data for the extra-EU exports for the EU-28 are available since 2002).
After experiencing a sharp fall in both exports and imports in 2009, the EU-28 saw its exports rise to a record level of EUR 1 737 billion in 2013, an increase of 3.2 % compared with the year before. The largest increase was registered for the residual category of commodities and transactions not elsewhere classified (SITC 9), and in particular for exports of non-monetary gold (SITC 971). Imports of goods into the EU-28 fell by 6.5 % in 2013 to be valued at EUR 1 682 billion, with the largest reductions recorded for imports of mineral fuels and lubricant products (SITC 3) and imports of raw materials (SITC 2).
Germany remained by far the largest player in relation to extra EU-28 trade in 2013, contributing 27.1 % of the EU-28’s exports of goods to non-member countries and accounting for almost one fifth (18.8 %) of the EU-28’s imports (see Table 3). The next three largest exporters, the United Kingdom (13.3 %), Italy (10.4 %) and France (10.2 %), remained the same as in 2012, and were the only other EU Member States to account for a double-digit share of EU-28 exports. The Netherlands (14.2 %), the United Kingdom (14.0 %), France (9.8 %) and Italy (9.5 %) followed Germany as the largest importers of goods from non-member countries in 2013; the relatively high share for the Netherlands can, at least in part, be explained by the considerable amount of goods that flow into the EU through Rotterdam — the EU’s leading sea port. The largest extra EU-28 trade surplus in goods, valued at EUR 154.0 billion, was recorded by Germany, followed by Ireland (EUR 22.5 billion) and Italy (EUR 20.0 billion).
Trade in goods between EU Member States (intra-EU trade) was valued — in terms of dispatches — at EUR 2 839 billion in 2013 (see Table 4). This was about two thirds higher than the level recorded for exports from the EU-28 to non-member countries (extra-EU trade). The importance of the EU’s internal market was underlined by the fact that intra-EU trade of goods was higher than extra-EU trade for each EU Member State, with the exceptions of Greece and the United Kingdom (see Figure 5).More ...