ECONOMY

Greek exports drop once again in 2002, while imports rise

Greek exports fell once again in 2002, while imports increased 9 percent, according to statistics provided yesterday by the Panhellenic Exporters’ Association. According to the data, exports, in dollar terms, fell 1.1 percent, to $10.30 billion, in 2002 from $10.41 billion in 2001. In euro terms, the drop was even higher, 5.9 percent, to 10.95 billion, from 11.63 billion euros in 2001. Exports to the European Union rose 3.2 percent in dollar terms – to $4.51 billion from $4.37 billion in 2001 – but fell 1.9 percent in euro terms. Toward the rest of the advanced industrial countries, members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), exports fell 6.2 percent (from now on, all results will be in dollar terms). These countries account for 12 percent of Greece’s trade. A significant drop in exports to the United States (5.6 percent) and Switzerland (22.3 percent) was not offset by small increases in exports to Australia, New Zealand and Mexico. Exports to the Balkans, Central and Eastern Europe, including the countries of the former Soviet Union, dropped 8.3 percent. The drop in this category is all accounted for by the 15 percent decline in exports to the countries of the former Yugoslavia, especially the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (21 percent) and Serbia-Montenegro (5 percent), which account for 89 percent of Greece’s exports to the former Yugoslavia. Exports to Central and Eastern Europe, as well as to former USSR countries, showed little change from 2001. Exports to the Middle East and North African countries rose 4.7 percent, thanks mostly to a 137 percent rise in exports to Libya and a 21 percent rise in exports to Saudi Arabia. But however impressive these figures appear, trade with these countries is rather thin; exports to Libya in 2002 were worth $93 million and those to Saudi Arabia, $85 million. As for the two prospective EU members, Cyprus and Malta, exports fell 9 percent and 24 percent, respectively. Adding the eight Eastern European countries, which, along with Cyprus and Malta, will join the EU in May 2004, Greek exports to the enlargement block fell 7.8 percent, to $902.1 million in 2002 from $979 million in the previous years. On the other hand, imports from these countries rose 9.9 percent, to $631.5 million. Exports to India and China rose slightly; there was also a slight increase (1.2 percent) to countries in Southeast Asia, almost all accounted for by the doubling of exports to Singapore (to $54 million). Imports rose 9 percent in dollar terms and 3.5 percent in euro terms, in 2002. Imports from all regions increased, with the exception of the Middle East. That was a result of fewer oil imports from Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.