The major increase recorded in exports in January proved just a blip, as in February they posted a decline (when fuel products are excluded), according to figures released on Friday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).
At the same time the increase in international oil rates is straining the trade deficit which, ship imports included, soared 48.9 percent in the first couple of months of this year from the same period in 2016.
The Panhellenic Exporters Association attributes these negative developments mainly to the uncertainty over the country’s macroeconomics and the lengthy delays in the government’s negotiations with its creditors.
In a statement issued on Friday the association argues that the decline in exports has revived a pattern seen in early 2016, when uncertainty led to changes from growth to contraction with no clear direction.
ELSTAT’s figures showed that the total value of exports, including fuel products, amounted to 2.1 billion euros in February, against 1.91 billion in February 2016, a rise of 10.4 percent. However, when oil products are set aside exports shrank 1.1 percent, or 17.2 million euros, on an annual basis.
Five out of the 10 main export sectors ended in negative territory: The biggest declines were registered by beverages and tobacco (down 28.7 percent), olive oil (28.1 percent), and various industrial products (16.1 percent). Machinery exports shrank 9.1 percent and food exports proved more resistant, dropping 1.1 percent.
On the other hand, besides fuel products soaring by 56.1 percent owing to the rise in international oil rates, exports of raw materials were up 47.4 percent, chemicals 6 percent and industrial products 4.8 percent.
The total value of imports came to 4.08 billion euros, against 3.59 billion in February, posting a 13.8 percent increase. Consequently the trade deficit increase 17.7 percent in February compared to last year.