Greece’s trade deficit swelled considerably in 2016, as the slight increase in exports was unable to offset the losses from the far greater growth in imports, according to data published on Tuesday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).
The rise in imports compared to 2015 could be attributed to the fact that the easing of capital controls in 2016 allowed for more transactions than in the previous year. However, the ELSTAT figures show that 2016 also saw more imports in value terms than 2014, when the capital controls had not yet been introduced.
Imports last year (including fuel products) amounted to 43.96 billion euros, against 43.62 billion in 2015, or an annual increase of 0.8 percent. If fuel products are excluded, the rate of increase climbs to 5.9 percent.
The value of exports including fuel products came to 25.41 billion euros, against 25.87 billion in 2015, or a reduction of 1.8 percent. When fuel products are excluded, there is an increase of 1.2 percent.
The figures show a considerable slowdown in export expansion after the 8.6 percent increase recorded in 2015 compared to 2014. Data from the Panhellenic Exporters Association further point to a reduction in exports in six out of the 10 commodity categories.