ECONOMY

Q2 external trade figures show reversal of deteriorating trend

Greece’s chronically deteriorating performance in external trade seems to have been righted in the second quarter of 2005, with an increase in exports and a drop in imports, according to a Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) statement based on Eurostat data. In fact, the country’s exports, amounting to one of the lowest volumes in the EU, rose 7.7 percent in this period, while imports declined 6.3 percent, more than any other partner’s in both instances. Italy was second in improving export performance with a rise of 5.5 percent, and Finland last with an increase of 2.4 percent. As regards imports, the largest drop after Greece’s was Belgium’s, at 0.5 percent, while Slovakia recorded the highest increase in imports, 7.3 percent. According to HEPO, data for the seven months to July reveal interesting qualitative characteristics in the improved export performance. These include the higher volume of exports despite the rising price of oil, a 13.7 percent increase in exports to the rest of the EU, a leading position in the Balkans, and an impressive rise of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the list of clients, rising from 24th place in 2004 to 15th this year. HEPO takes the view that this improvement as regards the UAE will be bolstered in the first quarter of 2006 through the visit of a Greek business delegation and the participation of 110 Greek companies in Dubai’s trade expositions Big Show and Index before the end of the year.