Glossary:Material flow indicators


Material flows present the amounts of materials in physical weight (excluding water and air) that are available to an economy. These material flows comprise the extraction of materials inside the economy and the physical imports and exports (i.e. the mass weight of goods imported or exported). Air and water are generally excluded.

Domestic extraction is the amount of raw material (excluding water and air), in physical weight, extracted from the natural environment for use in the economy.

Physical imports are the imports into the economy, in physical weight

Direct material input (DMI) is the input of materials for use in an economy, in other words, all materials which are of economic value and which are availlible for use in production and consumption activities.

Physical exports are the exports from the economy into other economies, in physical weight

Domestic material consumption (DMC), measures the total amount of materials used by an economy and is defined as the quantity of raw materials extracted from the domestic territory, plus all physical imports minus all physical exports.

Direct material input = Domestic extraction + Physical imports

Domestic material consumption = Domestic extraction + Physical imports - Physical exports = Direct material input  - Physical exports


The simple weight of traded goods provides an incomplete picture as it does not take into account the raw materials originally necessary to produce these traded goods. A more comprehensive picture on the ‘material footprints’ can be obtained by converting the traded goods into their raw material equivalents (RME), i.e. the amounts of raw materials required to provide the respective traded goods. Especially for finished and semi-finished products, imports and exports in RME are much higher than their corresponding physical weight.


Imports in RME are the amount of raw material required to produce the goods imported into the economy

Exports in RME are the amount of raw material required to produce the goods exported from the economy

Raw material input (RMI) is the amount of raw materials required to produce the goods which are available for use in production and consumption activities of the economy.

Raw material consumption (RMC), measures the total amount of raw materials required to produce the goods used by the economy (also called 'material footprint').

Raw material input = Domestic extraction + Imports in RME

Raw material consumption = Domestic extraction + Imports in RME - Exports in RME = Raw material input - Exports in RME

Statistical data