Greek exports posted the highest monthly growth this year in terms of percentage in October as they expanded by 24.1 percent from the same month last year, rekindling hopes that the sector will end the year in positive territory. The Panhellenic Exporters’ Association (PSE) estimates that if November and December have followed the same trend, then Greek exports will see a minimum rise of 3.5 percent for the whole of 2010 compared with last year, exceeding 15 billion euros against 14.2 billion in 2009. The increase is attributed to the fact that more and more companies are turning to other markets outside Greece, as according to the PSE register the number of exporting companies has increased by 10 percent since the start of the year. The PSE analysis shows that in the year’s first 10 months Greek exports came to 12.58 billion euros, against 12.05 billion in the same period in 2009, an increase of 4.3 percent. At the same time imports have declined by an estimated 21.8 percent, dropping from 40.9 billion euros in January-October last year to 32 billion in the first 10 months of this year. In October alone the value of Greek exports came to 1,583.9 million euros against 1,276.8 million in the same month of 2009. This 24.1 percent increase is the biggest on a monthly level this year, exceeding the 18.7 percent yearly growth seen in August. Imports, on the other hand, have shown a significant decline. In October they dropped to 3,163.9 million euros from 3,777.2 million a year earlier. The increase in exports combined with the decrease in imports have resulted in a drastic fall in the trade deficit by 32.5 percent in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period of 2009. The increase in exports in the year to September – the data for the 10 months have not yet been compiled – is due to the rise in the number of Greek products heading to developed countries, amounting to 58 percent of the total value of all exports. European Union-bound exports grew by 5.3 percent compared with last year, with exports to the United Kingdom in particular shooting up by 37.4 percent year-on-year. Exports to France grew by 9.6 percent. By contrast, exports to North America fell by 24.6 percent this year.