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Italian exports: positive trend will keep on

+18.2% in 2021 (on 2020) and +22.4% in the first half of 2022 (on the first six months of 2021).


The pandemic has given a further acceleration to some trends that were already underway: the processes of digitization, the shift of world demand towards Asia, health and sustainability at the heart of the consumption values ​​of the new generations. But it has also confronted companies with new challenges: the bottlenecks of some supply chains, the reduced capacity of international logistics and, above all, inflation and the consequent squeeze initiated on the money markets and - above all, today - supply difficulties. and the price of gas. These are the findings of the 36th edition of the Report on foreign trade Italy in the international economy by Agenzia ICE, published recently.

The conflict following Russia's invasion of Ukraine is exacerbating inflationary pressures and generating further tensions in global value chains, particularly for energy-intensive production. The effects on our country's foreign trade mainly concern imports from Russia and Ukraine, countries that supply energy raw materials, raw materials and specific components to some supply chains. Below the most important data from the report.

The 2022 Italian exports data

Despite the particular international situation, Italian exporting companies reacted promptly during and after the pandemic, recording for Italy export growth rates more sustained than those of other large comparable economies. If by the end of 2021 Italian exports had already exceeded the pre-Covid levels by 7.5% with a growth of 18.2% on 2020, in the first six months of 2022 there was a further trend growth of 22, 4% on the same period of 2021. Of course, you need to read the data taking inflation into account which, after 36 years, has once again become a variable capable of influencing the evolution of the global economy. In this light, we see that the “price component” accounts for about 20 percentage points on the + 22.4% of our exports in the first six months of the year. The prices of energy materials contribute to the sharp rise in the value of imports and are reflected in the deterioration of the trade surplus. However, even in volume, Italian exports continue to grow.

The trend growth in the first 5 months of this year concerns almost all sectors and, for many, it is largely positive also in 2019: food and beverage products (+ 18.8% compared to the same period of 2021 and, even, + 31.2% on the same period of 2019), products in the metals sector (+ 29.2% on the same period of 2021 and + 44.5% on the same period of 2019), chemicals (+ 28.5% and + 38.2% in the same period on 2019) and electrical appliances (+ 16.6% compared to the same period in 2021 and + 24.9% on 2019).

Considering the export trend in the first half of this year, it is towards Turkey that Italian exports recorded the greatest growth (38.5% compared to the same period of 2021), followed by Belgium (+ 32.7% ), United States (+ 31.3%), Spain (29.1%), Austria (+ 24.8%), Romania and the Netherlands (+ 23%), United Kingdom (+ 20.8%) and France (+ 20%). Only for Russia (-17.6%), following the conflict in Ukraine, there is a substantial decline.

The customs value of Italy's exports of goods and services in 2021 was 581 billion euros and they represented 32% of the country's GDP (in 2020 it was 30.2%) . Finally, Italy's market share in world exports of goods in 2021 (2.71%) is slightly lower than in the previous year (2.82%).

The reduction in the trade surplus (€ 44.2 billion) compared to 2020 reflects the growth in the deficit of the energy sector. Net of this component, in fact, the surplus is close to 90 billion, an increase compared to the 86 of the previous year.

Forecasts and system actions

In light of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, ICE and Prometeia revised and published in July their report on the Evolution of foreign trade by areas and sectors: it emerges an estimate of growth in world trade in goods and services by volume of 4.1% in 2022 and 3.2% in 2023. Even if the growth rates are well below those that had been assumed at the beginning of February, growth prospects remain in the short to medium term and Italian companies have the potential to be able to grasp them. From a geographical point of view, the highest increases are expected for Central Asia (+ 15.5% in 2023/2021), North Africa (+ 9.2%), East Asia (+ 9%), Central and South America (+ 8.8%) and the Middle East (+ 8.7%).

The impact on exports of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is the object of attention and for this reason Maeci and ICE have put in place new tools to support companies to favor the diversification of market outlets and the opening of new sources of supply of materials. and components. Even before the conflict, in the framework of the system action coordinated by Maeci and the "Pact for export", since 2019 ICE Agency has implemented 20 new actions, aimed at modernizing and making its services to businesses more usable ; modulated during the pandemic and accelerated after the pandemic the more traditional service activities (fairs in Italy and abroad and training) and strengthened its organization with new competitions for officials and managers and These actions translate into a 1.55-fold increase in businesses served and a 2.79-fold increase in support services provided to businesses.

Made in Italy continues to grow

“In a particularly difficult context for our country's economy, exports continue to grow and the data show it. These numbers, however, must be read with the awareness of the return of inflation as a structural problem of the global economy "- says Carlo Ferro, President of Agenzia ICE -. "In this scenario, also exasperated by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict that generates tensions on global chains, helping to redesign the concept of globalization, Made in Italy has recovered and continues to grow faster than other comparable economies, thanks also, and above all, to the significant contribution of Italian entrepreneurs who know how to make excellent products. Today the demand for businesses, both domestic and from foreign markets, continues to be essentially strong. However, we must avoid that external factors of price and availability of materials, in particular energy ones, affect the ability to respond to this demand. Offering and promoting excellent products is the only solution that works in all scenarios, even the most difficult ones, and help them win the challenge of the markets".

"For exports after the strong recovery in 2021 and after five months of growth in 2022, June saw a decline in the economy both towards EU countries and towards non-EU markets. But overall, in the second quarter of 2022, the economic trend and on an annual basis are nevertheless confirmed positive, although decelerating - commented Fabio Rapiti, Istat Director of Economic Statistics. Concern continues to arouse the increase in import values, especially of energy goods and, to a lesser extent, of intermediate goods. The energy deficit widened further, due to the strong increases in the average unit values ​​of gas, crude oil and electricity imports, and exceeded 48 billion in the first six months of the year; in the same period, the trade deficit was close to 13 billion, compared with a surplus of almost 29 billion in the first six months of 2021".

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Valerio Mariani.
Journalist, Math graduated.

He has been writing of technology & innovation for more than 25 years, spending his time in the spasmodic search & write of useful and inspirational contents for managers and entrepreneurs.
Favorite quote: never believe what you think.

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