Quality description: Monthly statistics on international trade in goods as of 2011

1. Relevance of statistics

1.1 Content and use of statistics

The monthly statistics on international trade in goods contains the monthly data on the international trade of Finland. It presents the development of the export, import, and balance of trade of Finland according to various commodity classifications, branches of industry of the trading companies as well as different countries and groups thereof.

Starting from the monthly statistics for February 2011, the unit value and volume indexes of the international trade for the preceding month are published as part of the monthly statistics. They present the monthly and cumulative statistics on the development of prices, terms of trade, and volumes of exports and imports. Before, the indexes were published as separate statistics, but the index statistics series ended at the statistics for December 2010.

For the purposes of the economic analysis, the monthly statistics gives a reliable picture of the newest development of the international trade. It constitutes an important instrument for the decision makers as well as planners and researchers in the public and private sectors, both at the national level and within the operations of the EU and several international organizations.

1.2 Central concepts and classifications

Information on the internal trade i.e. the trade between the EU Member States is collected through the Intrastat system from the operators who are obliged to provide information. The statistics on the external trade i.e. the trade with countries not in the EU are obtained from the customs clearance system.

The compilation of statistics on commodities is based on the Combined Nomenclature CN of the EU. The export statistics are gathered as per the countries of destination according to the FOB ("free on board") value and the import statistics as per the countries of origin according to the CIF ("cost, insurance, and freight") value. The country of origin is the country in which the goods were produced or in which the latest economically important stage of production took place. The packaging of the commodities is not regarded as production. As for export, the country of destination is the last country known at the time of the export of the commodities from Finland, either direct or via another country.

In the monthly statistics, the CN-based statistical material has been combined according to the following classifications:

  • Standard International Trade Classification (SITC, Rev.4, ex 2007)
  • Classification of Products by Activities (CPA) 
  • The Classification by Broad Economic Categories (BEC, rev. 4) aggregates goods to macroeconomic end-use categories
  • Main Industrial Groupings (MIG) (according to main use of goods) This product classification is not official.

The formulas applied to calculate the indexes of international trade are the Laspeyres formula for unit value indexes and the Paasche formula for volume indexes. The indexes are calculated as chain indexes, always using the year preceding the calculating year as the year of comparison.

In practice, the following formula is applied to calculate the unit value indexes:

P(L) = Σ w(0) (p(n)/p(0))/Σ w(0), where p = the unit value of the heading and w = the weighting coefficient of the heading

The volume indexes are calculated by means of the unit value indexes. To calculate the monthly volume indexes, the monthly numerical value is deflated by the respective unit value index and the value thus obtained is compared with the average monthly value of the preceding year. The cumulative volume indexes are calculated correspondingly with the aid of cumulative numerical values, through applying cumulative unit value indexes as deflators.

The points of the terms of trade are calculated by using the formula: (unit value index, exports / unit value index, imports) x 100.

Both monthly and cumulative unit value and volume indexes are chained by multiplying the unchained indexes with the corresponding chained annual index of the preceding year.

The subheadings of the EU Combined Nomenclature CN are used as index headings. To calculate monthly and cumulative unit value indexes, the statistical value of the index headings per quantity unit as indicated by the CN nomenclature is used as the price quotation. Both for monthly and cumulative unit value indexes, the price quotations of the entire (preceding) year are used as the price quotations of the year of comparison. The weighting coefficients of the index headings are obtained from the value shares of the year of comparison of the index headings. The weighting coefficients are raised by the commodity categories so that the total of the weighting coefficients of the index headings belonging to a particular commodity category corresponds to the value share of the commodity category during the year of comparison. Altogether, the unit value index of export covers more than 400 and the unit value index of import slightly over 600 CN subheadings.

The unit value and volume indexes of international trade are calculated and published in accordance with the CPA classification and the MIG classification.

1.3 Acts and Decrees

International trade statistics are based on the legislation of the European Community as well as the national Statistics Act (280/4) and Customs Act (304/2016). Within the EU legislation, the compilation of statistics is steered by the Basic Regulation on internal trade statistics (EC, 638/2004, amendment EC 222/2009), Basic Regulation on external trade statistics (EC, 471/2009), and the respective implementation provisions.

2. Method description

The information on the trade carried on by Finland with the other EU Member States is collected from the compulsory statistical declarations provided monthly by importers and exporters through the Intrastat system of the internal trade. The information on the trade between Finland and Third Countries is obtained from customs declarations, which have to be submitted on every import and export consignment. The data on both internal and external trade are put together to form the statistics on the international trade of Finland.

The country classification is based on the Commission Regulation (EC, 1106/2012) on the country classification of the statistics on the Community external trade and the trade between the Member States. The country codes comply with those of the ISO/DIS 3166 standard of the International Organization for Standardization. The groups of countries are defined in the explanatory notes of the monthly publication.

3. Correctness and accuracy of information

The monthly statistics are preliminary and contain estimates. Thus the figures are changing along with the completion and elaboration of the basic material. The monthly figures are e.g. supplemented by estimations on missing statistics declarations and those on companies with figures remaining below the threshold values. Each EU Member State defines its threshold i.e. minimum value of inclusion in statistics for the calendar year, based on the annual value of importation and exportation by companies.

As a rule, all goods exported from and imported in Finland are recorded to statistics. The prerequisite for the inclusion in statistics is that the goods physically arrive in or depart from this country. By way of exception, water- and aircraft are recorded to statistics upon a change in economic ownership. Among other things, neither transit transports nor economic measures of insignificant commercial value are included in the statistics. Also the smallest companies are released from the obligation to declare statistics on internal trade. Neither is international trade in services recorded to these statistics.

Both the monthly and the cumulative index materials are examined after the completion of the monthly material on international trade. The cumulative index allows for the corrections to the material on the months preceding the respective month.

4. Up-to-dateness and timeliness of published data

The accurate publication dates of the monthly statistics are announced for abt. one year at a time. The timetable of publication is maintained on the web site of the Finnish Customs. The statistics are published within nine weeks upon the expiry of the respective month.

The statistics get specified along with the production of the statistics on the following months. The statistics on each calendar year are confirmed by the end of August in the following year.

5. Availability and transparency / clarity of data

The monthly statistics on international trade is published on the Finnish Customs website on the dates announced in advance. The publication can also be ordered to be sent by e-mail. Detailed statistics according to categories of commodities and countries are available from the Statistics Service of the Finnish Customs and, free of charge, in the statistical database Uljas of Finnish Customs at the time of the publication of the monthly statistics. The unit value and volume indexes for the preceding month are published in connection with the monthly statistics. Until the end of 2010, a separate index statistics was published. These statistics and their quality description can be found on the Finnish Customs website.

Further information on the monthly statistics and all the other statistics on international trade are available from the web site of Customs -> International trade statistics. This site comprises e.g. the principles of compiling statistics on international trade as well as all the statistics and surveys on the international trade of Finland published by the Finnish Customs.

Further information is also available from the Statistics Service at:

- telephone: +358 295 5200 (exchange) or +358 295 52335 (Statistics Service direct)

- e-mail: statistics[at]tulli.fi
- Internet: www.tulli.fi
- Statistical database Uljas: uljas.tulli.fi

6. Comparability of statistics

Monthly statistics on international trade are being produced since the 1960's. They are available from the web site of Customs since 2000. Only occasional paper versions of statistics older than that are available. Unit value and volume indexes have been produced using the CPA and MIG classifications since 1997. The correlation tables for the different versions of the CPA classifications can be found on the Finnish Customs website.

7. Clarity and consistency / coherence

The information contained in a monthly statistics gets specified along with the publication of further monthly surveys.

Beside international trade statistics, statistical information on international trade is available from the National Accounts and the Balance of Trade statistics of the Statistics Finland.

On the Finnish Customs website, under Statistics service, there are links to international trade-related websites of different countries and international bodies, such as the EU and the UN.

The dissimilarities of the concepts and definitions applied by the EU Member States and their most important trading partners as well as the UN Member States may affect the comparability of statistics.