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Mineral resources of Poland> Exports and imports of mineral raw materials
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Export and import of mineral raw materials

The data source

The information on the trade turnover in exports and imports of mineral raw materials in Poland was prepared on the basis of data collected by the Polish Custom Service. Given information is actual data coming from the custom declarations and INTRASTAT declarations. The data do not include the upward adjustments from the entities which were off the hook to report in the INTRASTAT system and which have not fulfilled the obligation within the required time limit. The custom declarations apply in the trade in goods carried out by European Union Member States with third countries which are not EU Member States. Such declarations are the basis for the EU statistical system EKSTRASTAT. The INTRASTAT system, however, is the statistical system containing the trade between EU Member States and is obligatory since the 1st January 1993 on the European Single Market. The INTRASTAT declarations have to be filled when the commodities value exceeds the certain threshold – the threshold values are every year defined by the President of Statistics Poland and published in the statistical survey program introduced in the form of the Prime Minister regulation. In 2020 the basic threshold for the commodities import was PLN 4 million, whereas for the export it was PLN 2 million. The Polish Custom Service informed that the underestimation of the trade turnover data not exceeding the mentioned above limits was in 2020 equal 4.9% in imports and 1.9% in exports.

The integrated Tariff of the European Union - TARIC

In relation to the previous editions of “The balance…” the list of presented commodities is upgraded according to the Polish Custom Service tabulations. These tabulations are based on the integrated Tariff of the European Union – TARIC. The legal base of the TARIC is Council Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 of 23 July 1987 on the tariff and statistical nomenclature and on the Common Customs Tariff (Official Journal L 256, 07/09/1987). The Regulation was amended by Council Regulation (EEC) No 1006/2011 of 27 September 2011 changing the Annex I to the Regulation No 2658/87 (Official Journal L 282, 28/10/2011).

The TARIC is based on the Combined Nomenclature (CN) which is set up to meet the requirements both of the Common Custom Tariff (CCT) and of the EU’s external trade statistics. The CN is also used in intra-EU trade statistics. The CN was established by Council Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 on the tariff and statistical nomenclature and on the Common Customs Tariff. Every year Annex I to the basic CN Regulation (No 2658/87) is updated and published as a stand-alone Regulation in the EU’s Official Journal (L series). The CN contains about 10,000 items and is the 8-digit code system – it is a further development (with special EU-specific subdivisions) of the World Customs Organization’s Harmonized System Nomenclature (HS). On the 6-digit level the CN is analogous to the HS. The HS was established by the International Convention on the Harmonized System prepared under the auspices of World Customs Organization in Brussels of 14 June 1983 (Official Journal No 11, pos. 62, 1997).

The TARIC is a multilingual database integrating all measures relating to EU customs tariff, commercial and agricultural legislation. The TARIC is updated and maintained daily in almost every of the EU languages. The TARIC data are transmitted daily via an electronic network to the Member States which guarantee immediate and correct information for the national administrations of the Member States, who use this data mainly to feed their national systems for customs clearance, with the goal of maximizing automatic customs clearance.

The TARIC is not legally binding, nevertheless it’s codes have to be used during the custom clearance and in statistics according to the Article 5 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 amended by Council Regulation (EC) No 254/2000 (Official Journal of 3/02/2000).

In Poland, the TARIC database is carried out by the Customs Department of the Ministry of Finance as a part of the Integrated Customs Tariff Information System – ISZTAR 3. It provides detailed information concerning the commodity turnover to the Customs Administration and to all interested in that issue. Both the EU data coming from the TARIC system and the Polish data (VAT and excise taxes), as well as some national non-tariff measures not integrated in the TARIC database, are presented in the browser. Similarly to the TARIC, the ISZTAR is not legally binding, nevertheless it’s codes have to be used during the custom clearance and in statistics.

The tendencies of the mineral raw materials turnover in Poland

The accession to the European Union caused substantial changes in the mineral raw materials turnover in Poland – in 2004 and in the following years. The significant growths of exports and imports value were recorded in 2006 with the magnitude remaining at the similar level as in 2004-2005. Next two years (2007-2008) brought the increase in the import value and volume; the export magnitude decreased while the export value after the drop in 2007 slightly increased in 2008. Due to the worldwide economic crises in 2009 there were drops recorded both for imports and exports – regarding the value and the amount. In 2010 the tendency reversed and growths were noted. In the next two years (2011-2012) such tendency remained regarding the value of the import and the export, whereas the import magnitude grew in 2011, decreased in 2012, and the export volume dropped in 2011 and then increased in 2012. In 2013 the value decreased both for the import and export with the import magnitude drop and the export magnitude increase. In 2014-2015 the value of raw materials turnover dropped. The turnover amount in 2014 decreased for export and increased for import and in 2015 it grew for both turnover aspects. In 2016 the import and export value got better, whereas the import volume grew and the export magnitude decreased. The significant import and the slight export growth were noted in 2017 with the import magnitude growth and the slight export magnitude decline. The similar changes took place in 2018. In 2019, the import decreased, both for the value and for the magnitude, whereas the export value increased slightly and the export volume dropped significantly. In 2020, both the export and the import of the mineral raw materials decreased – not only in terms of value but also magnitude.

The summary statistic for minerals and mineral commodities in Poland in 2020 was presented within four groups: fuels, metals, chemicals and rocks. The magnitude and the value for the total of imports-exports as well as for the particular groups of raw materials are presented in Table 1a/1b. The export/import values are presented both in PLN and EURO.

The data on the mineral raw materials turnover do not cover natural gas. The data on natural gas export and import are not available since 2006 due to the confidentiality of the information – according to the Regulation (EC) No 638/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on Community statistics relating to the trading of goods between Member States and repealing Council Regulation (EEC) No 3330/91. The natural gas export from Poland is minor (in 2019 amounted to 0.67 billion m3 – about 670 million tonnes) and the lack of data does not significantly affect the total balance of the raw materials turnover. The lack of data on the natural gas import to Poland brings down the total amount and the value of raw materials brought to Poland. The data officially presented by the Central Statistical Office of Poland cover only the magnitude of natural gas imported by Poland but without publishing the imports directions. Therefore, such data are not included in this study – nevertheless, it should be noted that in the analyzed period natural gas import increased from 9-10 billion m3 in 2009-2010 to about 14.95 billion m3 in 2018 and 16.75 billion m3 in 2019 (information covering 2020 will be issued later). Therefore, it is worth mentioning that the balance of mineral raw materials turnover is higher than the balance taking into account these figures.

The exports and imports of the mineral raw materials in 2020 – the comparison with the previous years

The total raw materials export value decreased by PLN 3,391,097 thousand (EURO 1,150,241 thousand) (6.02%) in comparison with the previous year and amounted to PLN 52,932,794 thousand (EURO 11,955,692 thousand) in 2020. The imports value amounted to PLN 83,805,850 thousand (EURO 18,987,145 thousand), decreasing by PLN 24,251,646 thousand (EURO 6,156,476 thousand) (22.44%). The exports-imports turnover balance remained negative and was more gainful than in 2019 – by PLN 20,860,548 thousand (EURO 5,006,235 thousand) and amounted to PLN 30,873,056 thousand (EURO 7,031,453 thousand) – excluding natural gas. It was the second consecutive year with the negative balance drop.

The most important, regarding the value of the raw materials exports in 2020, were: the raw materials and products of copper metallurgy (16.54% of the total export value), hard coal and coal derivatives (16.47%), precious metals (12.85%), crude oil and petroleum products (12.22%), iron and ferroalloys (6.96%), silver (6.33%), aluminum (5.30%), nitrogen and multi-component fertilizers (5.11%) and insulating materials (2.67%; Fig. 1).

The highest values of imports, causing negative balance of the turnover value, related mainly to the such raw materials as: crude oil and petroleum products (51.61% of the total import value), aluminum (7.57%), hard coal and coal derivatives (6.69%), iron and ferroalloys (5.17%), raw materials and products of copper metallurgy (4.92%), nitrogen and multi-component fertilizers (2.91%), precious metals (2.68%), potassium (1.50%) and zinc (1.42%; Fig. 2).

In terms of the magnitude, the total quantity of the raw materials export slightly decreased in 2020, with the import quantity dropping significantly. The export quantity amounted to 29,472 thousand tonnes and was by 174 thousand tonnes (0.59%) lower than in the previous year. The total import magnitude was equal 71,256 thousand tonnes and dropped by 7,852 thousand tonnes (9.93%) in comparison with 2019.

Figures 1 and 2 show the structure of exports and imports in Poland, i.e. total values and shares of various groups of commodities in the international turnover.

Figure 1. The structure of mineral raw materials exports in Poland in 2020
Figure 2. The structure of mineral raw materials imports in Poland in 2020

Table 2 shows values of an imports-exports balance of particular mineral raw materials groups in last 10 years.

It can be seen that only for metallic raw materials the turnover balance remained positive till 2016. Nevertheless, it should be noted that 2016 was the fourth consecutive year with the declining balance for this group. In the 2017-2018 period the balance got significantly worse and remains negative, the 2019-2020 period brought the significant improvement and the noted balance was positive – amounted to PLN 4,783.99 million. For three remaining raw material groups the balance has been clearly negative in the analyzed period. Chemical raw materials are characterized by the declining tendency which was stopped only in 2017 and 2020 when the balance was equal PLN -1,718.41 million. In the last couple of years, for fuels 2-year periods of the turnover trends can be observed – the positive in the 2015-2016 period (when the balance remained at the level of about PLN -25,700.00 million), the negative in the 2017-2018 period to the level of about PLN -54,900.00 million, and the positive in the 2019-2020 period – the balance grew to about PLN -33,780.00 million. The balance for rock raw materials significantly decreased in 2011 and in the 2017-2018 period, whereas the most positive tendency was recorded in the 2012-2013 period, the 2015-2016 period and in the last two years. Therefore, in 2020 the balance was the least negative in the analyzed period – amounted to PLN -159.30 million.

Table 3 shows the imports-exports quantity balance of particular mineral raw materials groups in last 10 years.

The turnover balance within fuels, metals and rocks has been clearly negative in the whole analyzed period. In the case of metallic raw materials the negative tendency has been occurring in the 2012-2018 period and with the significant improvement noted in 2019 and in 2020 (to the level of -5.45 million tonnes). The balance for rocks – after a significant drop in 2011 – have been characterized by a quite stable level till 2017. The following two years were characterized by the negative tendency, whereas the 2020 brought a slight improvement to -4.20 million tonnes. The balance for fuels improved in 2012-2013 almost twofold, then remained at the stable level in 2013-2016. Then it dropped largely in 2017 and 2018 with this negative tendency stopped in the last two years – in 2020 the balance was equal -30.32 million tonnes. For chemical raw materials the balance was slightly positive in 2009 and then was followed by the visible negative tendency in a dozen or so years (with slight yearly changes) – in 2020 it amounted to -1.81 million tonnes. Considering fuels, it should be noted that taking into account the magnitude of the natural gas import given by the Central Statistical Office of Poland (about 16.75 billion m3 in 2019) the balance would drop in 2020 to about -47.07 million tonnes. Accordingly, the total balance would decrease to about -58.53 million tonnes.

The variation of the imports–exports balance by the value and the quantity for the last 10 years is shown in Figure 3 and Figure 4.

Figure 3. The balance of Polish imports and exports in terms of mineral raw materials value (PLN billion – fixed prices as of 2020)
Figure 4. The balance of Polish imports and exports in terms of mineral raw materials quantity (million tonnes)

The value balance decreased substantially in the 2017-2018 period, whereas the significant growth was recorded in 2015 and in the 2019-2020 period (Fig. 3). The lowest level was attained in 2018 - it amounted to PLN -59.49 billion, the highest in 2015 – it was equal PLN -29.32 billion. The quantity balance was characterized by three trends in the analyzed period – the significantly positive in 2012-2013 to the level of -23.31 million tonnes, the negative in the 2014-2018 period to the lowest level of -50.61 million tonnes, the slightly positive in the 2019-2020 period to the level of -41.78 million tonnes (Fig. 4). Taking into account the magnitude of the gas import given by the Central Statistical Office of Poland (about 17 billion m3 – about 17 million tonnes) the balance would drop in 2020 to about -58.78 million tonnes.

The percentage contributions of the particular groups of raw materials to the value of exports and imports in 2019-2020 are presented in Figures 5 and 6. The highest increase in the contribution to the turnover value with respect to the previous year took place in metals export (by 7.70%) and metals import (by 6.20%). The highest decreases were observed within fuels export (by 8.90%) and fuels import (by 8.60%). Fuels are still the most important group regarding Polish imports (mainly due to the crude oil and petroleum products) and metals are the most important group regarding the export (mainly due to the copper). Regarding chemicals, the contribution of this group increased both in the export and import – by 0.60% and 1.60%, respectively; for rocks, there were also growths recorded – by 0.60% in export and 0.80% in import.

Figure 5. The contribution of mineral raw materials to the value of Polish exports in 2019–2020
Figure 6. The contribution of mineral raw materials to the value of Polish imports in 2019–2020

Regarding the quantity of raw materials exports it can be seen that chemicals and rocks exports increased slightly in 2020 – by 0.04 million tonnes and 0.34 million tonnes, respectively. Fuels export dropped significantly – by 0.42 million tonnes, and metals export decreased by 0.14 million tonnes (Fig. 7).

Figure 7. The magnitude of mineral raw materials exports in 2019–2020 (million tonnes)

In terms of import magnitude, there were drops within all of raw materials groups in 2020. The biggest was recorded for fuels import – by 5.61 million tonnes, whereas metals import dropped by 1.19 million tonnes. For rocks and chemicals the reported decreases amounted to 0.71 million tonnes and 0.35 million tonnes, respectively (Fig. 8).

Figure 8. The magnitude of mineral raw materials imports in 2019–2020 (million tonnes)

Tables given below show the comparison between export/import values (Table 4) and quantities (Table 5) in 2019–2020.

The total import value in 2020 decreased by PLN 24.25 billion (EURO 6.16 billion) (22.44%) and export value dropped by PLN 3.39 billion (EURO 1.15 billion; 6.02%) in comparison with 2019.

Regarding imports, the value dropped within all of raw materials groups: - fuels – by 32.20% (PLN 23.75 billion; EURO 5.81 billion); - chemicals – by 3.30% (PLN 0.22 billion; EURO 0.03 billion); - rocks – by 2.93% (PLN 0.10 billion; EURO 0.05 billion); - metals – by 0.72% (PLN 0.17 billion; EURO 0.20 billion).

The export value rose within three raw materials groups - by 9.79% (PLN 2.55 billion; EURO 0.39 billion) for metals, by 4.56% (PLN 0.14 billion; EURO 0.01 billion) for rocks, and by 0.07% (PLN 0.001 billion; the drop in terms of EURO by EURO 0.03 billion) for chemicals. In the case of fuels it decreased significantly – by 27.27% (PLN 6.09 billion; EURO 1.52 billion) (Table 4).

The total import magnitude in 2020 decreased by 9.92% (7.85 million tonnes) and the export magnitude dropped by 0.61% (0.18 million tonnes) in comparison with 2019.

The import quantity decreased within all of raw materials groups: - for metals by 11.33% (1.19 million tonnes); - for fuels by 10.73% (5.61 million tonnes), for rocks by 7.24% (0.71 million tonnes), whereas for chemicals by 5.37% (0.35 million tonnes).

The export quantity increased for rocks – by 7.47% (0.34 million tonnes), and for chemicals – by 0.93% (0.04 million tonnes). For two remaining groups there were drops recorded – the export magnitude decreased by 3.50% (0.14 million tonnes) for metals and by 2.50% (0.42 million tonnes) for fuels (Table 5).

The quantitative and valuable relations of exports and imports within particular mineral raw materials groups were as follows:

  • Fuels – the quantity of the raw materials import was in 2020 bigger than export despite not including the data covering natural gas import. Therefore, the quantity balance was negative and amounted to -30,317 thousand tonnes. It got better by 5,191 thousand tonnes (14.62%) in comparison with 2019. The value balance remained definitely negative and amounted to PLN -33,779,333 thousand (EURO 7,668,918 thousand). The balance improved for the second consecutive year – by PLN 17,664,345 thousand (EURO 4,299,338 thousand), that is by 34.34% (in 2019 it improved by PLN 3,457,237 thousand, that is by 6.30%). Taking into account the natural gas import, the total import value would be much higher and therefore the balance much more negative.
  • Metals – the quantity of the raw materials import was in 2020 bigger than export and such difference was for the third consecutive year slightly smaller than in the previous year and therefore the balance was more gainful. It amounted to -5.45 million tonnes and improved by 1.05 million tonnes (16.15%) in comparison with 2019. Despite the negative proportion between the import and the export volume, but thanks to the positive economic situation (the import of more expensive raw materials together with the export of the cheaper ones), till 2016 the value balance was still positive. In the two following years the balance recorded the negative value – in 2017 it got worse in comparison with the previous year by PLN 1,801,291 thousand and amounted to PLN -1,342 203 thousand, whereas in 2018 it remained at the similar level and was equal PLN -1,252,588 thousand (the improvement by PLN 89,615 thousand that is by 6.68%). In 2019, there was the significant improvement noted and the balance was back positive – it amounted to PLN 2,061,470 thousand and got better by PLN 3,314,058 thousand in comparison with 2018 (the 1.5 fold growth). In 2020, the positive value balance amounted to the level of the year 2014 – it amounted to PLN 4,783,986 thousand (EURO 1,061,977 thousand) and it means that the balance improved in comparison with 2019 by PLN 2,722,516 thousand (EURO 583,696 thousand) – the 2.3 fold growth.
  • Chemicals – similarly to the two groups mentioned above the import amount exceeded the export magnitude in 2020. Therefore, the quantity balance remained negative (-1,815 thousand tonnes) and decreased by 385 thousand tonnes (17.50%). The import value decreased by PLN 222,974 thousand (EURO 93,596 thousand) (3.30%), whereas the export value increased by PLN 3,366 thousand (drop in terms of EURO by EURO 29,535 thousand) (0.07%). The value balance remained negative but was more gainful in comparison with 2019 by PLN 226,340 thousand (EURO 64,060 thousand) (11.64%) – it amounted to PLN 1,718,407 thousand (EURO 388,991 thousand).
  • Rocks – the value balance remained negative and amounted to PLN 159,302 thousand (EURO 35,521 thousand). It improved in comparison with 2019 by PLN 247,347 thousand (EURO 59,140 thousand) due to the growth of the export value (by PLN 143,402 thousand – that is by 4.56%; EURO 10,363 thousand), with the import value drop (by PLN 103,945 thousand – that is by 2.93%; EURO 48,776 thousand).

The main partners of the raw materials exports and imports

Directions of Polish export and import of mineral raw materials (divided into 4 main groups) are presented in Table 6. There were 25 most important countries selected (according to import/export value).

Regarding the exports directions, the highest value in 2020 – similarly to the previous years – was reached by the raw materials export to Germany. It amounted to PLN 13,516,794 thousand (EURO 3,047,173 thousand), which constituted 25.54% of the total Polish raw materials exports value. Other important countries with the significant contribution to the total Polish raw materials exports value were: Czech Republic (PLN 6,026,667 thousand – 11.39%; EURO 1,363,658 thousand) and China (PLN 3,088,529 thousand – 5.83%; EURO 692,717 thousand) (Fig. 9). The total export value to these three countries amounted to PLN 22,631,991 thousand (42.76% of the total export value) (EURO 5,103,549 thousand). Two first countries on the list have not changed in comparison with 2019, whereas China took the place occupied in 2019 by Netherlands – in 2019 China was on the 5th place. In comparison with 2019, the value of the raw materials exported to Germany increased by PLN 193,988 thousand (1.46%) (the drop in terms of EURO by EURO 52,003 thousand), whereas in the case of Czech Republic it dropped by PLN 291,260 thousand (4.61%) (EURO 106,409 thousand). Regarding China, the growth was equal PLN 178,342 thousand (6.13%) (EURO 15,594 thousand).

Figure 9. The Polish raw materials export in 2020, by countries

The major part of the mineral raw materials imports in 2020 came from Russia. The import value was PLN 31,582,138 thousand (EURO 7,173,623 thousand), which constituted 37.68% of the total mineral raw materials imports value in Poland. The 2nd place was occupied by Germany (PLN 8,530,376 thousand – 10.18%; EURO 1,928,386 thousand) and 3rd place by Saudi Arabia (PLN 4,539,598 thousand – 5.42%; EURO 1,028,335 thousand; Fig. 10). These three items on the list of the import directions have not changed in comparison with 2019. The total import value from these three countries amounted to PLN 44,652,113 thousand (53.28% of the total import value) (EURO 10,130,344 thousand). It should be noted that taking into account the data covering natural gas import to Poland, the ratios would change. In comparison with 2019, the value of the raw materials imported from Russia decreased significantly – by PLN 12,348,109 thousand (28.11%) (EURO 3,047,984 thousand), in the case of Germany there was the growth recorded – by PLN 83,368 thousand (0.99%) (the drop in terms of EURO by EURO 37,338 thousand), whereas for Saudi Arabia it dropped by PLN 2,342,378 thousand (34.04%) (EURO 573,208 thousand).

Figure 10. Polish raw materials import in 2020, by countries

Regarding the magnitude of the turnover directions, the most important countries in raw materials export were: Germany, Czech Republic and Austria. The quantity of raw materials sold to these countries amounted to 6.11 million tonnes, 6.00 million tonnes and 1.84 million tonnes, respectively. It constituted 20.72%, 20.36% and 6.26% of the total export volume in 2020. The export magnitude to these three countries amounted to 47.33% (13.95 million tonnes) of the total raw materials export.

In terms of import magnitude, the first three items on the list were occupied in 2020 by: Russia, Ukraine and Germany. The majority of raw materials was imported from Russia – 31.96 million tonnes which constituted 44.86% of the total import volume; from Ukraine there were 5.40 million tonnes (7.57%) imported, whereas from Germany it was 5.11 million tonnes (7.17%). The import magnitude from these three countries constituted 59.60% (42.47 million tonnes) of the total raw materials import.

There are quantities and values of import and export of mineral raw materials and selected semi-finished products presented in the Table 7.


Prepared by: Marcin Tymiński