ECONOMY

Exports run out of steam due to cash flow problems

The rise of Greek exports sadly proved short-lived, as the momentum observed in the last couple of years has all but vanished.

Exporters estimate that 2013 will end with a rise of 3 to 4 percent. But that figure includes fuel products, and when they are taken out of the equation it turns into an annual drop of 2 to 3 percent.

The loss of momentum is due to the cash flow problems Greek enterprises are facing, which are preventing them from reaching out to new customers. External factors also play a role: According to World Trade Organization estimates, the growth rate of global commerce will drop to 2.5 percent this year from an original forecast for 3.3 percent.

“Even if we had large orders we would not have been able to fulfill them,” an exporter says. Acquiring raw materials from abroad remains difficult while the high energy costs are a major obstacle. The latest data from the monthly PMI index issued by Markit show that the inflow of new orders from abroad declined in November for a third consecutive month.