Greek products have displayed remarkable resilience in international markets, but the pandemic has had a negative effect on Greek fuel exports as both sale prices and quantities exported posted a considerable decline last year.
Overall, the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) figures for 2020 showed that Greek exports posted their first decline since 2016, amounting to 18.5% from 2019. However, when fuel exports are excluded, the sum is positive, which is even more important for a year that was exceptionally difficult for the economy.
The second positive element is the reduction of imports and the trade deficit, attributed to the drop in domestic consumption and the reduction of activity.
ELSTAT data put the total value of 2020 exports (fuel included) at 30.7 billion euros, down from €33.86 billion in 2019. However, when fuel and ships are excluded, the sum comes to €23.89 billion, an increase of 2.9% from the previous year’s €23.21 billion.
Fuel recorded the greatest decline, at 37.1% year-on-year, while raw material exports also posted a significant drop of 14.9%.
Food, industrial products and chemicals (mainly thanks to pharmaceutical commodities) were the champions of Greek exports in 2020.
Panhellenic Exporters Association President Christina Sakellaridis exalted the resilience of Greek exports in 2020 and the prospects for 2021: “Despite the adverse conditions in global trade last year, mainly due to the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, Greek exports managed to maintain their momentum. In fact when fuel is excluded, exports showed a positive result, with the sectors of food, chemicals, industrial products and olive oil displaying particular stamina. Greek exporters remain reservedly optimistic about the course of this year, with the signs appearing positive,” she stated.
The total value of imports last year came to €48.62 billion, against €55.84 billion in 2019, which signified a decline of 12.9%. Excluding oil products and ships, imports also posted a reduction, amounting to 4.4%.
The result of all this has been a considerable contraction in the trade deficit to €17.91 billion, from €21.98 billion in 2019.