ECONOMY

IT exports are booming

Exports of telecommunications equipment and office machinery are booming, driven chiefly by Greek telecommunications companies’ expansion into the Balkans, according to a study covering the period 1990-2000 released by the Panhellenic Exporters Association (PEA) yesterday. Sales of these products amounted to $432 million in 2000, marking a massive 1,233-percent increase from 1990, with the average yearly increase coming to 25.5 percent. In comparison, global exports grew by 215 percent. The figures showed that Greek businesses can compete successfully in new technology, PEA said. While the sector contributed a negligible amount to Greece’s total exports 10 years ago, by the end of the decade, its share had risen close to 4 percent. Gains on the global scale were equally impressive, with Greek exports of telecommunications equipment and office machinery accounting for 15 percent of total worldwide sales in 2000. Despite the sharp jump in exports, Greece remained a net importer, with imports of telecommunications equipment and office machinery more than doubling to $2.38 million in 2000, an average yearly increase of 13.3 percent. This development is not as negative as it sounds, PEA said, as a portion of imports is eventually exported to other countries. Countries in the Balkans are the major destinations for Greek exports of telecommunication equipment and office machinery, the study showed, with 44 percent of exports going to the region in 2000. EU countries are the next biggest market, accounting for 19.5 percent of exports. North Africa, the Middle East and other Mediterranean countries came third, taking up close to 13 percent of Greek exports. The EU, in turn, was also the biggest exporter of telecommunications equipment and office machinery to Greece. The lira fell to 1,639,000 to the dollar from Friday’s figure of 1,620,000. It has not seen levels around 1,640,000 since late August.