For the second time in several years, the country’s export sector is becoming a lifeline for the national economy, as after a significant increase in Greek exports during the last decade of economic crisis, they demonstrate high resilience during the new crisis caused by the pandemic.
Maintaining a positive export balance and a recovery in the manufacturing sector, which has been hit by a decline in domestic and global consumption due to the pandemic crisis, are the main pillars for the Greek economy. Moreover, not only for this crisis period, but also for the future, since this sector creates many jobs with a long perspective.
Data released on April 9 by the Greek Statistical Office (ELSTAT) shows export growth in February 2021 even more than in January. This is partly due to the fact that already in February 2020, they began to be recorded damages due to the outbreak of coronavirus in countries where Greek products are exported. In particular in february In 2021, the value of Greek exports amounted to 2.88 billion euros, including petroleum products, an increase of 8.5% compared to February 2020. At the same time, exports excluding petroleum products also increased, with a growth rate of 3.7%. It should be noted that this indicator is calculated without taking into account oil products, the export and import of which fell sharply in value due to a sharp drop in world oil prices.
In addition to the fact that the increase in exports contributes to the viability of many Greek companies, it reduces, coupled of course with a decrease in imports, the trade deficit. For two months, from January to February, it decreased by 28% taking into account petroleum products and by 22.6% excluding petroleum products. Of course, the decline in imports is largely due to the recession that the Greek economy re-entered, and to a lesser extent to the replacement of imported goods with Greek ones. However, there are some signs of a gradual positive change, according to data from the Hellenic Confederation of Trade and Enterprise (ESEE).
According to ELSTAT data, the overall industrial production index in January 2021 increased by 3.4% compared to January 2020. Tobacco and textiles are the sectors that have recorded the largest annual growth. Production increased by 20.2% and 13.7%, respectively, while production growth in the IT sector – computers, electronics and optics (by 12.7%) is of particular interest. The production of drugs, a sector with high export activity, increased by 9.2%, and the production of electrical equipment – by 7.4%.
In line with the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, investments are focused on developing new or upgrading existing production lines to improve the competitiveness of the industry. The focus is on advanced digitally controlled industrial equipment, production control systems and the development of industrial partnerships to improve production and collaboration in the industrial ecosystem.