ECONOMY

Deficit in trade of farm produce doubled in the second half of 1990s

The deficit in Greece’s trade balance of farm produce, which began appearing sporadically in the 1980s, became a permanent feature in the 1990s, when, on average, it doubled in the second half of the decade, according to data released by the Panhellenic Association of Exporters (PSE) yesterday. Even though a comparatively small exporter of farm produce, PSE said, Greece depends on this sector more than any other EU country, representing between 30 and 35 percent of the value of all Greek exports in the 1990s. The deficit appears in its trade with EU partners, which absorb 64 percent of Greek farm produce, while trade with third countries shows a surplus. Italy absorbed 25 percent of Greek farm products in 1999 (the last year of the survey), Germany 16 percent, the UK 8 percent, the USA 5 percent and Spain 4 percent. Foodstuffs dominate Greek agricultural exports, which were valued at $3.5 billion in 1999. The surplus is accounted for by fruit and vegetables, which account for 32 percent of farm exports and 10 percent of all exports, vegetable oils and fats, textile fibers and tobacco. All other categories show a deficit, most prominently in meat and dairy products. Nevertheless, Greece retains first, second and third position globally in the exports of peach preserves, olive oil and olives respectively. BELGRADE – The National Bank of Greece (NBG) will be looking to exploit opportunities created by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia’s ongoing privatization program and developments in the capital markets, Theodoros Karatzas, its governor, said yesterday at the inauguration of the bank’s new branch in Belgrade. «We plan to participate in investment opportunities arising from privatization procedures, as well as changes in the capital markets in Yugoslavia,» he stressed. NBG is the first Greek bank to venture into the country.