Greek exports posted double-digit growth both in March and in the first quarter of the year, but they were outpaced by imports in both cases, sending the trade deficit to 6.47 billion euros in the January-March period, against 4.47 billion in the first quarter of last year, according to Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) data issued on Monday.
Exports last month amounted to 2.63 billion euros, compared to 2.09 billion in March 2016, rising 25.7 percent year-on-year. Excluding fuel, the increase amounted to 6.6 percent. Just two out of the 10 product categories posted a decline in March (food & tobacco and machinery).
Data also showed that imports reached 4.77 billion euros in March, up 30.2 percent on March 2016. When fuel products are excluded, the increase came to 9.9 percent. This led to a 36.2 percent annual increase in the trade deficit in March and 44.8 percent growth during the first quarter.
The Panhellenic Exporters Association attributes this jump in exports to the fact that Western and Orthodox Easter landed on the same date this year, and the soaring imports to efforts to accelerate commercial transactions as concern grew regarding the outcome of negotiations for the second review of the country’s third bailout.