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Agriculture tops exports

Agricultural exports are continuing to rise, breaking the 5 billion euro barrier, despite the fact that Greek exports subsided marginally (for the first time since 2010) in 2013.

Agricultural exports are continuing to rise, breaking the 5 billion euro barrier, despite the fact that Greek exports subsided marginally (for the first time since 2010) in 2013, as borne out of data provided by the Organization for the Promotion of Exports (OPE).

The rise in the 11 month period is 2.4%, and the year will close with a positive balance, while value is expected to top 5 billion euros. Fruit and olive oil are once again export “champions” among agricultural products, and are the reasons behind the decrease in the balance of trade gap with Germany, pegging an impressive increase of exports by 13%.

More specifically, according to OPE, the value of agricultural exports in the first eleven months of 2013 came to 4.78 billion euros, as against 4.67 billion euros during the same period in 2012, showing a rise of 2.4%.

Despite the fact that December 2013 was one of the worst months for Greek exports, the whole picture for 2013 exports was not affected and the year will close positively.

Fruit (fresh, or dried) is at the top of the export list with their value exceeding 700 million euros, showing an increase of 7.98%, compared to 2012.

Oils, including olive oil, are in second place, showing an impressive increase during the eleven-month period of 81.4% with a value of 517.1 million euros. At the same time Greek agricultural products as ever gaining ground in Germany, showing an increase of 13%.

The agricultural sector accounts for about a third of Greek exports to Germany, with a value of 642.3 million euros in the first eleven months of 2013, as against 568.5 million euros 2012. If Greek products can be branded they will be able to assault foreign markets. At this time, however, they are lacking in competitiveness as they're exported in raw form.

This lack of competitiveness is borne out of a study by the Piraeus Bank noting that: “The challenge for the future, is not to increase market share by further cutting labor costs. On the contrary, emphasis should be placed on further local processing for products that Greece has a relative advantage in, while at the same time promoting Greek name brands that could incorporate higher profit margins, unfettering Greek firms from the constant competition from countries with low labor and production costs.”

As a direct result of the low level of specialization of Greek exports, Greece ranks in 54th place based on the specialized exported merchandise index.

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