A basket of 18 products has kept Greek exports afloat since the outbreak of the financial crisis, posting an increase of 71 percent in turnover abroad from 2009 to 2017, compared to just 25 percent for other exports (fuel excluded).
According to a study compiled by National Bank of Greece’s Economic Analysis Department, it is those dynamic products that supported the local economy during that time and account for 30 percent of all Greek exports. They are split into two categories.
The first category comprises basic commodities, which account for 27 percent of Greek exports. They have secured significant shares of international markets, and include aluminium (1.5 percent of the global market), marble (7.5 percent), olive oil (8 percent), olives (26 percent) and feta cheese (3 percent).
The second category consists of up-and-coming goods that may only account for 3 percent of Greek exports, but have a soaring presence in international markets: They include yogurt (7 percent of the global market), ice cream (1 percent), smoked fish (2 percent) and peanuts (1.6 percent).
During the crisis years the basic commodities held their ground with an average global market share of 2.5 percent, while the up-and-coming goods almost doubled their share to 2 percent in 2017. At the same time, the rest of Greece’s exports saw their grasp on the global market drop from 0.16 percent in 2009 to 0.12 percent last year.
Among the 18 products in the dynamic category – those that have managed to increase or retain their high market share and price level – are highly competitive commodities such as food with special quality features (olive oil, smoked fish, olives, yogurt, peanuts, feta and ice cream). There are also products that have bought into their market share by following a policy of low pricing, such as marble, cement and aluminium. This strategy may have led to low profits or even losses, the NBG analysis showed, but has also allowed them to penetrate international markets, and after the domestic market recovers they will be able to claim a bigger market share internationally on improved conditions.