Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Greek tourism: a quasi-worrying print in May.

Greek mainstream press is awash with stories claiming that 2014 will be a bumper year for Greek tourism. It remains to be seen whether this will prove to be the case here (and I wholeheartedly wish that it will be but one particular data print worried me a bit).

Here’s the relevant chart.

source: Bank of Greece

May was the first month that a hefty rise in travel services exports was recorded in 2013. Jump to May 2014 and the growth in relevant exports can be characterized as anemic at best. 

If one cares to look  closer then he/she will find out that the rise in receipts for the Jan-May period was lower than that of non-residents’ arrivals. Something that was not the case in 2013 when on a year-over-year basis receipts rose more than arrivals. This means that receipts per capita fell (thus far) in 2014 while it had risen in 2013.

source: Bank of Greece

Now that the base effect is over, will growth in travel services exports slow to a halt like it did in May? If that is the case then growth estimates could prove to be overly optimistic. Fingers crossed that May’s print was just a blip.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Why it is hypocritical to be worried about Greek exports just now.

I haven’t written about exports for a while, no scrap that, I haven’t written a post altogether in quite a long time. What prompted today’s post is the fact that a lot of people, bodies relevant to exports/entrepreneurship even, have been making quite a lot of noise regarding the plummeting of Greek merchandise exports in the first months of 2014. I find that quite shocking and hypocritical to be honest for a couple of reasons. In order to find what those reasons are I’m afraid that you have to read the remainder of the post though.

Here’s a chart with a breakdown of change in merchandise exports according to their destination.

source: Eurostat, own calculations

Exports to both EU27 countries’ and elsewhere have been declining on a year over year basis and what’s more exports to nonEU27 countries have been posting very hefty declines.

If you want a more smoothed out view of the chart above, here it is.

source: Eurostat, own calculations

In 2011 I had written that the phenomenal spike in Greek exports was mostly due to oil products that were mainly channeled tonon-EU countries. I think that it is interesting and revealing to take a look at how oil-related and non-oil exports have fared these past few years.

source: Eurostat

source: Eurostat, own calculations
source: Eurostat, own calculations

As you can see non-oil exports have been stagnating the whole period following the great trade collapse in 2009. What growth there was, was indeed in the oil products segment.

This is why I am shocked that relevant bodies are making noise regarding Greek exports just now. I don’t know about you but the whole scene makes me think of a bunch of people conversing at a post-funeral coffee-offering setting and trying to reach conclusions about what will make the deceased “feel better”. It’s a tad absurd, isn’t it? These noises should have been made 3-4 years back. 

P.S.  If you would like to see how oil-related and non-oil exports have fared for EU27 and non-EU27 countries here are a couple of charts.

source: Eurostat, own calculations
source; Eurostat, own calculations

(The fact that exports to EU27 countries have fared relatively better than those to non-EU27 countries can (at least partly) be blamed to the plummeting of EM currencies during early 2014 which significantly reduced purchasing power among those countries' consumers/firms)