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Statistical processing

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External Economy, Economic Statistics
Stefan Gottschalck Anbro
+45 51605846

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International Trade in Goods

Trade data is collected on monthly basis using the various data sources. The collected data are validated for logical errors and completeness and a credibility check of the reported data is carried out.

The collected data are used to compile the trade figures and full coverage of trade is ensured by estimation for missing. There is thus full coverage of International Trade in Goods in the disseminated statistics.

In connection with the release of trade figures some time series are seasonal adjusted and furthermore indices are calculated.

Source data

The statistics are compiled on the basis of two general sources: Extrastat and Intrastat.

Extrastat covers Denmark's trade in goods (imports and exports) with non-EU countries (third country) on the basis of the data on customs and supplies reported by business enterprises to the Danish tax authorities concerning their trade in goods with countries outside the EU. Consequently, Extrastat is an administrative (secondary) source.

Intrastat is the system behind the statistics of the trade of goods between Denmark and the other EU countries. Prior to the introduction of EC's Single Market on 1 January 1993, this trade was also covered by the Extrastat-system. However, following the introduction of the Single Market, the requirement concerning customs and forwarding documents in connection with intra-EU trade was abolished. Consequently, Extrastat was no longer able to provide information about this trade and Intrastat was introduced on 1 January 1993.

Intrastat is primarily based on monthly data reports submitted to Statistics Denmark by approximately 7,500 business enterprises in Denmark with regard to their trade in goods with enterprises in other EU countries (supplemented by information about EU trade derived from the VAT declarations that are filled out by all enterprises liable to pay VAT in Denmark). Consequently, Intrastat is a statistical (primary) source.

In addition to Intrastat and Extrastat, trade data are also collected via other data sources. Data on vessels and aircrafts are partly coming from registers kept by Danish Maritime Authority and Danish Transport Authority, respectively. Data on sea products landed in foreign harbor are coming from The Danish AgriFish Agency and trade in electricity is based on data on the actual transmission across the borders provided by the grid operator,

Frequency of data collection

Intrastat data are collected monthly and the deadline for reporting data under Intrastat is the tenth working day after the reference month. Extrastat data are collected on daily basis when the customs declarations are submitted to the customs authorities.

Data collection

In Intrastat it is mandatory to submit declarations digitally. The main reporting tools in Intrastat are Idep.web and online forms on portal. In Extrastat, reporting tools provided customs authorities are used and almost all are digitally reporting tools.

Data validation

Statistics on the Danish External Trade in Goods are compiled on the basis of customs declarations for the trade with non-EU countries and reports to the Intrastat system covering trade with EU countries.

The collected data are validated at several levels before the statistics are disseminated. First, the reporting obligation of the enterprises is monitored. Furthermore, the data are check for any logical error (e.g. wrongful commodity code) or missing information. Trade reported on e.g. wrongful commodity codes is not included in trade figures before the information is corrected.

Credibility checks of the reported data are also carried out. In these checks the reported records are compared with records reported in the past. Those records which have a significant effect on the trade figures are checked manually. Records with less effect on the trade figures are automatic corrected. Significant errors are corrected quickly by telephone contact with the enterprises, while the other potential erroneous records are included in the statistics while investigations are carried out.

The reports are also checked for completeness. Large records are checked manually each month. In Intrastat, the reported figures are also compared with the enterprises' declaration of EU purchases and acquisitions stated on the VAT statements.

It is likely that not all erroneous records are identified and therefore the accuracy of the trade figures can be somewhat affected at detailed levels. Since the validation is targeted on large records, it is assessed that the effect of wrongful records is limited at aggregated level of the trade figures.

Data compilation

The reported EU trade is grossed up to full coverage of external trade in goods, by making estimation for trade from enterprises exempted from Intrastat reporting based on the stated value of purchases of goods from other EU countries (box A) and the value of sales of goods to other EU countries (box B) from the VAT statement and by making estimation from the enterprises obliged to Intrastat which have failed to report or have reported wrongfully. Consequently, the disseminated trade figures are thus covering the total trade.

The estimations are distributed by commodity codes and partner countries. The distribution of goods is based on the industry-specific trade patterns of the reporting companies, while the geographical distribution is estimated from the administrative source EU sales without VAT, indicating which EU countries Danish companies have traded with. For those companies that are exempted from reporting to Intrastat, the industry-specific trade pattern is based on the trade of small and medium-sized companies. For reporting companies that have not reported, the industry-specific trade pattern is based on the trade of large and medium-sized companies and the companies' own historical data.

The unit value and volume indices based on international trade in goods data is as of May 11th 2020 based on microdata on firm level. Building the indices from a firm level micro-data helps to reduce the composition bias, i.e. the unit values have a better chance of reflecting the actual price changes and reducing the bias from changes in commodity composition. Previously the comparison was on commodity code level, hence data from several firms on the same commodity code was merged. More information on the new method can be found in this Danish methodological paper


Seasonal adjustment is applied. Data is seasonally adjusted using JDemetra+ with fixed model examined every two years. There will be adjusted for Easter, trading days and leap years if these effects are significant. Indirect seasonal adjustment is used in the calculation of the seasonally adjusted total trade figures. There is no special adoption of the annual figures, and there can be discrepancies between actual and seasonally adjusted figures annually. The seasonally adjusted figures are divided into commodity groups and by geography. The totals in the two reports are consistent.