Wednesday, 6 February 2013

EU27 countries' Merchandise Exports: IntraEU stagnation, ExtraEU growth

For some time now I wanted to do a snapshot of merchandise exports growth for EU countries. Unfortunately, full year data for exports are not yet available and the lag that they do become available is one source of frustration for persons (like the author) who spend their time looking at statistics and poring over spreadsheets, but we’ll make do with what we have.

What I think would be rather interesting is look at the breakdown of growth between the intra-EU15 and Extra-EU15 segments. 

First, I would like us to take a look at intra-EU15 export growth.

source: Eurostat, own calculations

As you can see for the vast majority of EU countries that particular market was not a source of growth, as far as the Jan-Oct 2012 interval is concerned. What’s more, Euro Area countries bar for less than a handful, out of which only one was a member of the so-called core, did not post any growth worth mentioning.

Now let’s take a peek at extra-EU15 export growth.

source: Eurostat, own calculations

The picture here is the polar opposite of the one above. Bar for two countries, all others recorded robust growth. What is of note here is that my native Greece ranks third in the relevant table.

This of course, makes me skeptical, since in the past aggregate figures of Greek exports were skewed by phenomenal growth in the Oil Products segment. Taking that into account I hope that you will allow me that slight modification to see if that is the case here too.

Here is the chart for Intra-EU15 exports after Oil Products are subtracted.

source: Eurostat, own calculations

The picture here is not altered meaningfully in terms of ranking, it is just that a few more countries slipped into negative growth territory (Portugal being one of them).

Here is the chart for Extra – EU15 exports. 

source: Eurostat, own calculations
Some quick takeaways from the chart. Growth in Extra-EU15 Portuguese exports is apparently not due to mineral fuels exports and is indeed rather robust, as is growth for Cypriot and Baltics’ exports. On the other hand, Greece slipped from the 3rd place to the 15th of the said table, meaning that the lion’s share of exports growth still comes from Oil Products.

To wrap this up, growth for EU countries’ merchandise exports originated mostly from the Extra-EU15 segment. The fastest growers were the Baltic countries, along with Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries and Southern Euro Area coutnries undertaking internal devaluation. 

P.S. Figures used here are nominal.

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