ECONOMY

Exports buck the gloomy trend

An outward-looking attitude is proving the most effective medicine for businesses hit by three consecutive years of Greek economic recession, an examination of the 2011 first-half results of 249 listed companies indicates.

The relevant tables show that the most extroverted companies either boosted their profitability, maintained their profit margins at satisfactory levels, or even returned to profitability. Others entered new markets, expanding their client lists.

The tables show that the listed companies with the best profitability prospects are those oriented abroad (60-70 percent of turnover), or directly linked with the government?s privatization program.

A considerable number of listed companies in this period appear to have reduced activities related to the Greek public sector and turned abroad. Others took more drastic steps, opting to do business exclusively abroad.

Hellenic Petroleum stayed for yet one more quarter the most profitable listed Greek enterprise, with after-tax profits of 179.16 million euros, benefiting both from a rise in the price of oil and or the dollar against the euro.

Separately, first-half data supplied by the Panhellenic Association of Exporters (PSE) indicate that Greece, despite its hard-biting recession, is growing into a strong regional trading hub. Apart from confirming a trend toward a record-breaking rise in exports (40.4 percent as a whole in the first-half, and 11.6 percent up excluding petroleum products), the data also show important changes in the country?s exports map.

?The Mediterranean basin is developing into a major market for Greek exports… The large rise in exports to neighboring Turkey, a strong increase in those going to the countries of North Africa and the Middle East… the recovery of exports to the USA, the penetration of new Asian markets and a boost in the exports of industrial products show that despite the fluctuations in the dollar-euro parity, Greek products are regaining the confidence of world markets,? said Christina Sakellaridi, PSE president.

Italy was Greece?s biggest customer in the first half, absorbing 1.04 million euros worth of exports, with Turkey in second place, with 866.6 million. Fuel exports rose by a whopping 343 percent, accounting for 27.6 of the total. Total imports fell 16.7 percent in the first quarter, further trimming the trade deficit.