Exports continue to represent a lifeline for Greek enterprises and the national economy, even if they have to resort to price cuts to maintain demand.
Against an adverse global backdrop, with the World Trade Organization expecting international trade growth to slow to 3.7 percent year-on-year in 2019 from an estimated 3.9 percent in 2018, IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) shows that the growth rate of new orders from abroad in January was the highest of the last 12 months.
IHS Markit actually points out that the increase in new activity with foreign markets for a 16th month in a row is associated with the acquisition of new clientele. Still, the PMI slipped to 53.7 points last month from 53.8 points in December 2018.
To hold on to their clients abroad, Greek manufacturers have been forced to reduce their sale prices for a second consecutive month, having started to raise their rates in fall 2017, when they felt some of their markets and clients were mature. The slowdown in the growth of prices of imported raw materials has also contributed to a reduction of factory prices.
The main reason for the highest rate of optimism in manufacturing recorded since July 2012 is the increase in orders from abroad.