Exports head south after three years of expansion

By Dimitra Manifava

As sector professionals had predicted, Greek exports posted an annual decline in 2013 for the first time after three years of growth.

According to estimates issued by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Friday, the total value of exports in 2013 amounted to 27.53 billion euros, 0.2 percent less than 2012. When fuel and lubricants are excluded from the total, the decline amounts to 2.2 percent – to 16.81 billion euros. Compared with 2008, the year when the crisis started, exports have grown by 29.12 percent.

December saw the continuation of the declining course that had started in October. ELSTAT’s estimates showed that exports fell 14.2 percent year-on-year when oil products are included. Without oil products the decline amounted to 3.7 percent.

Small though the annual decline in 2013 may be, it is a particularly worrying sign both for the enterprises themselves and the whole of the Greek economy, while demand in the domestic market remains at a particularly low level. Besides external conditions that may affect exports, such as the general slowdown in global trade or adverse weather conditions, the drop is mainly attributed to exporters’ lack of access to cash and increased energy costs.