Decreased exports raise the trade deficit

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 25, 2019 11:16

Decreased exports raise the trade deficit

Story Highlights

  • For the first two months of 2019 the exports decreased by 6.3 percent when comparing to last year. The imports were increased by 1.1 percent, impacting thus the trade deficit to deepen, increasing in 9.1 percent.

Related Articles

TIRANA, March 21- During the first three months of 2019 the trade exports have marked a negative performance when comparing to the same period in 2018, when the exports doubled. This decrease in trade reflects a difficult situation for the Albanian enterprises.

According to the Albanian State Institute of Statistics (INSTAT) for period Jan.-March the exports amounted to 44.4 billion lek (354.7 million euros), experiencing a decrease by 6.3 percent comparing to the same period in 2018. The trade imports increased by 1.1 percent, reaching a value of 92 billion lek (734.7 million euros). The trade deficit reached the value of 47 billion lek (375.3 million euros), increasing by 9.1 percent from the last year.

The three main trading groups that amount 75 percent of the whole exports, “textile and footwear,” “minerals, fuels, and electricity,” and “construction materials and metals,” have marked a negative progress. The exports for group “textile and footwear” reached a 20 billion lek (159.7 million euros), experiencing a 2.2 percent dropping from last year. Exporters have repeatedly claimed over the past year that they were negatively affected by the depreciation of the euro and had pessimistic expectations for this year, as they were failing to finalise contracts with their foreign partners. This group occupies the main share of exports by 45 percent of the total.

Administrator of company Albanian Trikot Gjergj Leqejza, judges that if measures won’t be taken then the future of the sector remains gloomy. The reason is that even if the euro currency exchange is determined by the market, the businesses are experiencing monetary damages as they work 100 percent on euro, whereas the payments are done in lek. Thus the euro dropping is reflected as a net loss, as the companies also pay the same for energy, salaries, and taxes.

The exports in “minerals, fuels, and energy” have marked a strong drop of 18.5 percent, amounting to 6.5 billion lek (51.8 million euros). This group holds 14.6 percent of the whole of exports. The main impact came from the decreasing of the electric energy exports. On the drop weer also the exports from Bankers Petroleum which is the largest fuel company in the country, experiencing a 23 percent drop towards Spain, which is the main trade partner. Official sources from the company admitted that the amount exported for the aforementioned period has been the same, overall 97 thousand tons of fuels, but it was negatively affected as the prices have dropped by 10 dollars per barrel.

The sales of “construction materials and metals” have experienced a shrinking of 25 percent, amounting to 6.4 billion lek (51 million euros). The main impact was given by the decreased exports of Kurum. Last year their sales significantly increased, especially with Kosovo, managing to get out of its filed bankruptcy after a restructuring. Official sources from Kurum said that the reasons of the decreased exports are due to the cold winter, as during half of February there was a stock shortage since the company is investing in capacity building. This group amounts to 14.5 percent of the exports total.

Groups that experienced an increase in exports where “food, beverages, tobacco” by 17.7 percent, “machinery, equipment and spare parts” by 8.9 percent, and “wood and paper manufacturing” with 4.7 percent. As part of the whole of exports, the weight of this group still remains slow.


Trade increase with Kosovo

Data from INSTAT show that for February 2019 the countries with which Albania experienced a boost in exports, when comparing to the same month from 2018, were Kosovo with 61.2 percent, Germany with 7.2 percent, and Greece with 2.3 percent. With Italy, Albania experienced a 4.1 percent decrease in exports, with Spain a 22.9 percent decrease, and a 16.1 percent decrease with the USA.

Comparing with last, during the first two months of 2019, Albania had a 18.7 percent increase of total exports with Kosovo, a 3.4 percent increase with Northern Macedonia, and 142.9 percent increase with Turkey. The greatest decreased exports were experienced with Italy by 3.2 percent dropping, 3 percent dropping with Germany, and a 12.6 percent dropping with Greece.

In terms of imports in February 2019 comparing to last year, Albania had increased imports by 21.1 percent with Turkey, 12.7 percent with China, and 8.2 percent with Germany. Whereas a decreased import was experienced by 5.6 percent with Italy, 1.8 percent decrease with Greece, and 10.1 percent with Russia.

In overall imports for the first two months of 2019 compared to last year, they increased by 16.2 percent with China, 5.7 percent with Turkey, and 16.3 percent with Russia. Albania experienced a 9.5 percent decrease in imports with Italy, a 1.7 percent decrease with Greece, and a 1.8 decrease with Germany.

The trade exchanges with the EU countries amount to 67.3 percent of the whole tradings. In February 2019 the exports towards the EU countries were 80.1 percent of the overall exports Albania conducted, and the imports from these countries amount to 61.5 percent of the whole imports in the country. The main trading partners for Albania are Italy with 34.2 percent, Greece and Germany with 6.7 percent each, and Turkey with 6.1 percent.

During the first two months of 2019 the trade exchanges with the EU countries were 66.3 percent of the whole tradings. The exports towards EU were 82 percent of the whole exports conducted in Jan.-Feb. 2019, and the imports amounted to 58.7 percent of the overall businesses. The main partners for this period were Italy with 34.5 percent, Greece with 6.9 percent, China with 6.7 percent, and Germany with 6.3 percent.


Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 25, 2019 11:16