Food exports: Gloomy environment due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine

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Greek exporters continue with undiminished intensity the effort to penetrate further into the international markets against the difficulties arising from the energy crisis and the “arrhythmias” in the supply chain. An effort that is becoming even more difficult due to the war in Ukraine, which is creating new data and exacerbating problems. According to Alexandra Hazapi-Pitta, vice-president of the Panhellenic Association of Exporters and managing director and vice-president of the board of the Attiki-Pitta beekeeping company, the exporting world is watching with great anxiety the tragic developments in Ukraine. of.

On the other hand, according to her, a black spot and a permanent source of intense concern remains the trade deficit, which swelled huge by 98.7% in the first month of the new year, ringing a “bell” for the continuation and the turn it can take. .

“Once again we are facing a new challenge: the war in Ukraine. This is an unfavorable development, which is once again upsetting the facts and increasing the uncertainty. Although it is too early to assess the impact, However, the side effects that have already occurred, focusing on the rise in energy and raw material prices, predict a deterioration in world trade, “said Ms. Hazapi-Pitta.

It is fortunate that in the country’s exports both Russia and Ukraine and Belarus are not included in the first places with the most important export markets of Greece for 2021. Specifically, Ukraine is in 30th place in 2021 from 35th place in 2020, Russia in 41st place in 2021 from 40th in 2020, Belarus in 91st place in 2021 from 83rd place in 2020. Greece exports industrial products, tobacco, fruit, etc. in these 3 countries and especially in Ukraine also exports petroleum products. The vice-president of PSE estimates that “in the short term, the impact on Greek exporters and the Greek economy will not be significant”.

However, he believes that “in the long run, all of Europe’s economies will be hit and no one is able to know the exact consequences at this time, as we do not know how long the war will last, what the impact of sanctions will be and what will happen with the products that Greece imports from Russia (mainly oil, gas, etc.), costs and energy flows, etc. This is because in terms of Greek imports Russia is the 5th main supplier of our country, while “Ukraine and Belarus only in the 36th and 129th, respectively for the year 2020”.

The main products that our country imports from Russia are oil, gas, aluminum, copper and cereals, which will have a great impact on the exports of the food they use. Concerns, according to Ms. Hazapi-Pitta, prevail for the country-supplier of these products as well as for the world prices that will be formed. The high prices will have a significant impact on the already burdened Greek balance. And the increases will generally affect the imports of raw materials, packaging materials, transport costs, etc. “Under these circumstances, it remains vital that the competitiveness of Greek export companies is not disrupted. It is crucial to support domestic industries in the face of the energy crisis and at the same time to provide incentives to stimulate domestic production. other export products but also food and export products in other countries, so there will be a corresponding effect in all exporting countries.

Moderate optimism about exports

Focusing on the exports of the food sector, Ms. Hazapi-Pitta emphasizes that at the beginning of the pandemic there were many difficulties, in the supply chain, transport, as well as in the supply of raw materials. Despite the many difficulties faced by the entire supply chain at the beginning of the pandemic, the Greek carriers, as well as the Greek exporters, fortunately adapted very quickly and managed to overcome all the obstacles that arose in order to continue the exports smoothly and even to increase them to all categories, including food and beverages.

According to the data of the Center for Export Research and Studies KEEM, the scientific arm of the Panhellenic Exporters Association, the ten countries to which the category of food & live animals is exported the most (for 2020) are: Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, USA, Spain, Romania, Cyprus, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and France. It is noted that Spain climbed from 10th place in 2019 to 5th in 2020. Also, more than 83% of exports are made to European countries.

In the last five years there is a continuous increase in exports in the category of food & live animals and more specifically in 2019 there was an increase of 4.5%, in 2020 there was an increase of 10.6% and in 2021 there was an increase of 10%. The contribution of this category to total exports increased from 14.1% in 2019 to 17.2% in 2020 and to 14.7% in 2021.

The ten countries with the highest exports of beverages and tobacco (for 2020) are: Bulgaria, Germany, Japan, Belgium, Cyprus, Libya, Poland, Albania, Czech Republic, United Arab Emirates. The countries that entered the top ten compared to 2019 are Poland, the Czech Republic and the United Arab Emirates, leaving the Netherlands, the United States and Egypt out of the top ten. More than 68% of exports are made to European countries.

In the last 5 years there is a continuous increase in exports in the category of beverages and tobacco and more specifically in 2019 there was an increase of 3.5%, in 2020 there was an increase of 6.6% and in 2021 there was an increase of 15.5%. The contribution of this category to total exports increased from 2.2% in 2019 to 2.6% in 2020 and to 2.3% in 2021.

The ten countries to which the category of oils & fats of animal or vegetable origin is exported the most (for 2020) are: Italy, Germany, USA, Bulgaria, Spain, Austria, France, United Kingdom, Romania & Sweden. A noteworthy observation is the fact that Spain climbed from 11th place in 2019 to 5th in 2020, while Cyprus is not even in the top 15 countries for 2020. 87% of exports are to European countries. The last five years highlight the seasonality of the category of oils & fats of animal or vegetable origin and more specifically in 2019 there was a decrease of -40.1%, which was followed by an increase of 36.5% in 2020 and then limited to 26, 6% for 2021. The contribution of this category to total exports increased from 1.2% in 2019 to 1.9% in 2020 and to 1.8% in 2021. Of course, in this category we need some It is time to separate the export of packaged olive oil, which is constantly rising from the export of bulk olive oil, mainly to Italy, where it is even packaged as Italian.

In the first 20 places with the most important Greek exported products in the world in the year 2021 appear food categories, such as fish, vegetables, virgin oil, apricots, cherries and peaches. From the above data, according to Ms. Hazapi-Pitta, it follows that “the pandemic did not negatively affect food and beverage exports. On the contrary, food and beverage categories increased significantly during the pandemic.”

He also adds that “the new year has started with the right for Greek exports as a whole, which recorded an increase of 33.9% in the first month of 2022. This is an encouraging development, which given the conditions allows moderately optimism for the future.” .

Regarding the large product categories, in January 2022, upward trends are recorded for all sectors, with the sole exception of the oil sector (-4.7%). In the category food & live animals the increase in January is + 20.1%, Significant percentage increase is observed in petroleum fuels (+ 93.5%), in industrial (+ 26.8%), in chemicals (+4.9 %) and machinery (+ 42.1%).

However, as Ms. Hazapi-Pitta adds, “for our country there is a great need to constantly increase exports in order to reverse or even mitigate the trade deficit. Only in this way will we build a really strong economy, which will withstand the shocks of the world economy “.

Source: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ

Source: Capital

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