BUSINESS

Exports show growth fatigue after falling in September

By Dimitra Manifava

Greek exports are now showing clear signs of fatigue after posting a decline for a second consecutive month, according to the September figures released on Monday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).

Although the value of Greek exports including fuel exceeded 20 billion euros in the first nine months of the year, their growth rate is slowing. When fuel is excluded, exports reveal an annual decline in the January-September period.

Given the liquidity problems that exporting companies are facing, their representatives are particularly worried about the possibility that their value-added tax rebates are being withheld to offset their debts to the state. The increase in the trade deficit in September is another cause for concern, stemming from the decline in exports and the increase in imports.

ELSTAT figures showed that exports amounted to 2.39 billion euros in September, down 2.2 percent from September 2012. When fuel is taken out of the equation, the yearly decline is 1.4 percent.

While the annual growth rate of the country’s exports had come to 5.4 percent in the first half of the year, in the first nine months growth slowed down to 5 percent, i.e. from 19.79 billion euros in January-September 2012 to 20.78 billion euros in January-September 2013, according to the analysis by the Exports Research Center (KEEM) of the Panhellenic Exporters Association (PEA). The increase in imports and the drop in exports in September resulted in the trade deficit growing 27.4 percent from the same month last year, although on a three-quarter basis it recorded a 13.6 percent decline from 2012.

“The ongoing pressures in many sectors of the economy render the continuation of export growth in the near future uncertain,” commented PEA President Christina Sakellaridi.

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