Both exports and imports are influenced by the same things, so therefore they can be grouped together into net exports. These are the influencing factors:
- Disposable income abroad. This refers to how much money people in other countries have available to spend. Therefore, if people have more money then they are likely to purchase more goods - potentially ones from our country, thus exports will rise and the value of net exports will increase. If disposable income abroad is low then exports will fall and the value of net exports will fall.
- Disposable income at home. This refers to how much money people at home have available to spend on luxuries. The more money people have at home, the likelier they are to spend - which can result in a rise in imports. Rising imports will have a negative effect on net exports on the overall aggregate demand. Vice versa.
- Protectionism. Protectionism will be explained in depth in a later post, but i'll briefly mention it here as it's relevant. This is measures taken by a government to restrict trade. Normally these limit imports, so lots of protectionism at home may have a positive impact on net exports as imports will fall. However, lots of protectionism in countries abroad may limit exports and thus net exports will fall.
- Exchange rates. These play a large part in the value of net exports. A fall in a countries exchange rate will reduce the price of exports and raise the price of imports, thus exports should rise and imports fall - resulting in an increase in net exports. A rise in a countries exchange rate will raise the price of exports and make imports cheaper, therefore making exports fall and imports rise. The overall effect will be a fall in net exports.