Economic crisis helps to boost exports

The exports domain is probably the only part of Greece?s economy that has been flourishing recently, with a number of factors contributing to its spectacular rebound in recent months.

Strange though it may sound, one of the main reasons is the domestic crisis, as many entrepreneurs who had competitive products but would only sell them within Greece are now trying to expand abroad. The drastic cut in local demand renders foreign markets a lifeline for local firms.

More and more companies, including small and medium-sized ones, are asking the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board for advice on how to become more export-oriented and on participating in international fairs. The Panhellenic Exporters Association reported a 10 percent increase in the number of enterprises on its register in 2010.

The swing abroad for Greek companies, particularly those in manufacturing, is also reflected in Hellenic Statistical Authority data regarding orders: In November 2010, the index of new orders in industry rose by 6.5 percent from November 2009. This is attributed exclusively to orders from abroad: They rose 26.6 percent while new orders from within Greece declined by 6.7 percent.

Another reason is the rise in the international price of various raw materials, which bumps up the price of the final product, as in the case of aluminum, copper and cotton. The latter means the cotton that China imports removes one of that country?s key advantages, the low prices of apparel produced. Consequently the European textiles industry, including Greece?s, has been showing signs of recovery in recent months.

Finally, the growth in exports in 2010 is also due to the considerable decline the sector had recorded in 2009 (-17.5 percent) over 2008.