After a conversation I had yesterday with fellow twitterer @nikan about whether Greek exports are on an upward path or not, I thought to do one more post on the subject.
In my humble opinion the best way to judge the trajectory of exports is to take a look at exports' quantities. Since exports tend to be volatile I used 12-month moving averages in order to smooth out the fluctuations and (maybe) be able to discern the trend.
In order to save space (and maybe bore you a bit less) I have plotted only the exports of product families that account for a large part of exports and those that posted sizeable increases. Here's the chart about overall exports broken down into intra-EU and extra-EU.
As we can see the spike in Greek exports is attributable in its entirety to the performance of extra-EU exports. A good question is whether there is an across the board increase or is the spike concentrated in a couple of segments. I think that the next chart is going to clarify this.
As you can see the rise in extra-EU oil products exports is phenomenal. Keep in mind the magnitude of the increase so that you can compare it with that of other niches in the next charts.
Exports of industrial supplies, primary or processed, are mostly flat. The exception is extra-EU primary industrial supplies that exhibit a strong downward trend. Industrial supplies (or intermediate products) account for a rather large chunk of overall exports quantity.
Next I want to take a look at exports of capital goods and similar products for the sole purpose of displaying how small a part of total export quantity they comprise. Here are the charts about capital goods and transport equipment.
Finally, the last export segment that I chose to include is that of processed food&beverages, since, quantity-wise, it is the most important of consumer goods and it cuts a rather impressive/weird chart.
It seems that, presently, this niche too is not in any noticable upward trend and if there is any increase in exports value that should be due to pricing. But I can't help wondering about this monstrous hickup during the 2008-2009 period and exactly what it means. It certainly means that there is untapped potential. If anyone can come up with an explanation please do so in the comments section.
To wrap this up, the brunt of any export growth seems to stem from extra-EU oil products shipments. Pretty much the same conclusion we had reached at the last post about exports. Greek industrial products exports don't seem to post any growth, unless of course, since 2007 and on, technology has changed that much and the said sectors' produce has grown somewhat lighter (which I somehow doubt). Only industrial supplies are important quantity-wise but high value-added segments like capital goods and transport equipment seem to be negligible. Even sectors like food and beverages where Greece could claim to possess some kind of comparative advantage seem relatively stagnant. All in all not a pretty picture and certainly not one that could help employment-wise...