Strong euro hits exports in October

Greek exports to countries outside the European Union are beginning to feel the impact of the strong appreciation of the euro, as their value shrunk by 17.7 percent in October compared with the same month last year, National Statistics Service (NSS) data showed yesterday. In contrast, exports to fellow EU members grew by 19 percent year-on-year, which increased the total value of exports to -1.4 billion, a 3.2 percent yearly rise. However, the trade deficit expanded further, as imports grew by 9.8 percent to -4.9 billion, from -4.5 billion in October 2006. The value of imports from EU countries rose by 16.3 percent to -2.9 billion and imports from outside the bloc were up by 1.7 percent to -2 billion. Exports of oils and fats in particular posted a considerable decline in the first nine months of the year, while exports of machinery and transport equipment (up 8.5 percent), chemicals (11.5 percent) and industrial goods and food (2.5 percent) registered gains in the same period. According to the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (OPE), the total value of exports in the January-September period grew by 2.7 percent to -12,667.1 million from -12,339.2 million in 2006, with 64.1 percent of that destined for other EU states. According to other data released yesterday, turnover in wholesale commerce rose by 5.9 percent in the third quarter of the year compared to the same period last year, after quarterly rises of 13 percent and 14.5 percent on an annual basis. There was however a decline of 9.2 percent from Q2 of 2007, the greatest since the beginning of 2005. Manufacturing output grew by 1.6 percent in the 10 months of the year, despite a 0.7 percent slide in October, said the NSS. Production of consumables rose by 4.1 percent and of energy goods by 2.6 percent.