Exports rise, so does trade deficit

Greek exports rose 10.9 percent in 2003, with their value totaling 11.4 billion euros. According to Eurostat figures, their increase in 2003 was the second largest in the last five years, after the 22.6 percent rise registered in the year 2000. Overall trade statistics for the years 1999-2003 are not, however, favorable for Greece. According to a paper by the Institute of Export Research and Studies, the balance of Greek trade not only remained in the red, but its deficit widened to 27.7 billion euros last year, due to the larger rise in imports. Imports increased by 18.5 percent on an annual basis, amounting to 39.2 billion euros. The ratio of exports to imports was 29.1 percent, which is the lowest for the last five years. According to the study, Greek exports to other EU member countries represent the largest category, accounting for 46.1 percent of total exports, with their value coming to 5.2 billion euros. Germany was the main single export market for Greek products, accounting for 12 percent of total exports, valued at 1.4 billion euros. Italy received 10.6 percent of Greek exports, with Britain, the United States and Bulgaria following with 7.2, 6.7 and 6.4 percent respectively. Textiles and clothing as well as food products represent the largest categories of Greek exports, amounting to 22.2 and 17.3 percent of total exports.