Extra-EU trade by invoicing currency


Data extracted in May 2019

Planned update: May 2021

Highlights

In 2018, the euro was the most used currency for EU exports with a share of 48 % and the second for EU imports with 35 %.

The US dollar was the most used currency for imports into the EU with a share of 56 % in 2018 and was the second most used currency for exports with a share of 35 %.

Extra-EU total trade (exports plus imports) of goods by invoicing currency, 2010-2018, (%)


Goods imported and exported by the European Union (EU) can be invoiced in a range of currencies. This article focuses on the trade in goods by invoicing currency of the EU with countries outside the EU from 2010 to 2018. It provides information about the share of trade declared in euro, US dollars, EU Member States' currencies other than the euro and currencies of countries outside the EU (further denoted as other currencies) for imports and exports.

This article is part of an online publication providing recent statistics on international trade in goods, covering information on the EU's main partners, main products traded, specific characteristics of trade as well as background information.

Full article

US dollar most used for EU imports, euro most used for EU exports

Figure 1 shows that in total extra-EU trade in goods (imports plus exports), the US dollar was the most used currency in 2018, with a share of 45.4 %. The euro followed with a share of 41.4 %. Member States' currencies other than the euro had a share of 5.4 % while the share of other currencies was 7.8 %. However, the shares are rather different when looking at imports and exports separately.

Figure 1: Extra-EU total trade (imports + exports) of goods by invoicing currency, 2010-2018
Source: Eurostat (ext_lt_invcur)

Figure 2 shows that the US dollar was the most used currency for imports into the EU in 2018, with a share of 55.6 %, 0.6 percentage points (pp) more than in 2010. The euro was the second most used currency for EU imports in 2018, with a share of 35.1 %, 0.8 percentage points less than in 2010. The share of Member States' currencies other than the euro dropped slightly from 5.3 % in 2010 to 4.6 % in 2018. Lastly, other currencies gained almost one percentage point from 3.8 % in 2010 to 4.7 % in 2018.

Figure 2:Extra-EU imports of goods by invoicing currency, 2010-2018
Source: Eurostat (ext_lt_invcur)


Compared with imports, the positions of the euro and the US dollar are reversed for EU exports. In exports of goods the euro was the most used currency in 2018, with a share of 47.8 %. This was, however, 4.5 pp less than in 2010. In the same period, the US dollar gained 3.2 pp, from 31.9 % in 2010 to 35.1 % in 2018. Member States' currencies other than the euro had a share of 6.2 % in 2018 and other currencies had a share of 10.9 %.

Figure 3:Extra-EU exports of goods by invoicing currency, 2010-2018
Source: Eurostat (ext_lt_invcur)

Slovenia had the highest share of trade in euro, the United Kingdom the lowest

In 21 of the 28 Member States the US dollar was the most used currency for extra-EU imports of goods in 2018 (Figure 4). Its share was highest in Greece (77 %) and lowest in Slovenia (29 %) and Austria (27 %). The euro was the most used currency in seven Member States. Slovenia (66 %), Austria (62 %) and Slovakia (61 %) were the only three where this share was above 60 %. At the other end, the euro had a share of only 5 % for the imports of the United Kingdom. Member States' currencies other than the euro had a share above 10 % only in the United Kingdom (22 %), Czechia (16 %), Sweden and Denmark (both 14 %). Finally, other currencies had a share above 10 % only in Sweden (20 %) and Denmark (17 %).

Figure 4: Extra-EU imports of goods by invoicing currency, 2018
( % of invoicing currency)
Source: Eurostat (ext_lt_invcur)

In 19 of the 28 Member States the euro was the most used currency for extra-EU exports of goods in 2018 (Figure 5). Its share was highest in Slovakia and Slovenia (both 80 %) and lowest in the United Kingdom (4 %). The US dollar was the most used currency in nine Member States. Its share was highest in Ireland (71 %) and Greece (65 %). Member States' currencies other than the euro had a share above 10 % only in the United Kingdom (44 %), Sweden (19 %) and Denmark (16 %). Lastly, other currencies had a share above 10 % in eleven countries. It was above 20 % only in Denmark (28 %) and Sweden (27 %).

Figure 5: Extra-EU exports of goods by invoicing currency, 2018
( % of invoicing currency)
Source: Eurostat (ext_lt_invcur)

Oil predominantly traded in US dollars, primary goods more often in euro

Looking at imports based on the Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) sections (see Figure 6), the US dollar stands out as the main currency used for imports of petroleum products (SITC 33) (around 88 % in 2018) and manufactured goods (SITC 5-8) (around 51 % in 2018). In primary goods (SITC 0-4) excluding petroleum, the shares for the US dollar (44 %) and the euro (47 %) are similar.

Figure 6: Extra-EU imports by invoicing currency and product group, 2018
Source: Eurostat (ext_lt_invcur)

In extra-EU exports of petroleum products, the US dollar (63 %) is also the most used currency, although somewhat less dominant than in imports. With 54 % the euro is the most used currency in primary goods with a gap of 22 pp to the US dollar which had 32 %. In manufactured goods this gap is smaller; here the euro has a share of 49 % and the US dollar a share of 33 %. The role of other currencies, both from Member States and non-Member States is somewhat larger in extra-EU exports than it is in imports.

Figure 7: Extra-EU exports by invoicing currency and product group, 2018
Source: Eurostat (ext_lt_invcur)

Data sources

Data on trade by invoicing currency (TIC) is collected by using the customs declarations. Trade operators fulfilling their reporting obligations to the customs authorities in a Member State provide at the same occasion these statistical data elements, including the invoicing currency. The Member States collect, compile and transmit TIC data to Eurostat in line with the legislation in force. The data source shall be the information recorded from customs declarations according to Article 4(1) of Regulation (EC) No 471/2009. However, if the invoicing currency for exports is not available on the customs declaration, Member States shall carry out a survey for compiling exports broken down by invoicing currency which provides statistics with accurate results. The first reference year for which extra-EU trade by invoicing currency is available is 2010. Data are compiled for every second calendar year since then, i.e. 2012, 2014, 2016 etc.

Product classification

Information on exported and imported goods are presented according to the Standard international trade classification (SITC) at a more general level.

  • SITC 5-8 Manufactured goods
  • SITC 33 Petroleum, petroleum products and related materials
  • SITC 0-4A Primary goods excluding SITC division 33
  • Total All products

A full description is available from Eurostat’s classification server RAMON.

Context

Currencies are the means by which wealth is stored, protected and exchanged between countries, organisations and individuals. A global currency, such as the euro, does this on a global scale. As well as serving as the currency of the euro area, the euro has a strong international presence. Since its introduction in 1999, it has firmly established itself as a major international currency, second only to the US dollar. The size, stability and strength of the euro-area economy make the euro increasingly attractive beyond its borders, too. Public and private sectors in third countries acquire and use the euro for many purposes, including for trade or as currency reserves.

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Main tables

International trade in goods – long-term indicators (t_ext_go_lti)
EU28 trade by Member State, partner and product group (t_ext_go_lti_ext)
Extra-EU imports by Member State, shares by invoicing currency (tet00067)
Extra-EU exports by Member State, shares by invoicing currency (tet00068)

Database

International trade in goods – aggregated data
International trade in goods – long-term indicators (ext_go_lti)
EU trade by Member State, partner and product group (ext_go_lti_ext)
Extra-EU trade by Member State, shares by invoicing currency (ext_lt_invcur)

Dedicated section