Foreign trade data in the first semester of 2023

Veneto and provincial trade at a crossroads, between resilience and signs of slowdown

Economy - published on 18 September 2023

Source: press office Presidency of the Treviso Chamber of Commerce Belluno|Dolomiti

Belluno’s exports grow +14.8%, thanks to eyewear and machinery sectors .

Change of sign for Treviso’s exports (-0.6%): standstill for electrical appliances and furniture sectors, good for machinery. Import slowing down:  -7.3% for Treviso, -8.2% for Belluno.


President Mario Pozza’s comment

“A slowdown in regional exports and in our provinces is beginning to be evident, looking in particular at the dynamics of the second quarter, – comments Mario Pozza, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Treviso and Belluno|Dolomiti. – If we stick to the balance sheet of the first half of 2023, we can still talk about exports holding up, without too much consolation though: Veneto’s exports are growing by +3.2 percent year-on-year, Belluno’s exports, in particular, are still growing in double digits, by +14.8 percent thanks to the eyewear sector but also machinery and electronics and precision equipment products.”

Instead, for Treviso – the president continues, – a slight -0.6 percent decrease year-on-year is observed. The data show a decline in sales for consumer durables (furniture and household appliances), rubber-plastic products and automotive components; but the demand for machinery remains positive. The increase affects most of the main trading partners, a sign that the need for technological upgrading is a cross-cutting need felt by both emerging and more established economies.

But perhaps the most relevant aspect for the six-month period is the confirmation of the downward trend in imports – Pozza continues – by -7.3 percent in Treviso and -8.2 percent in Belluno again compared to the first 6 months of last year. This decrease is a combined effect of import prices normalization, as well as of overall economic slowdown, which generates lower requirements for input goods in various sectors. If we look Veneto data, for which we have information in both value and quantity, we find clear statistical evidence to all this: regional imports fall by -4% in quantity (lower inputs) with a more than proportional decrease in value (-7.9%).

I close with a reflection on markets – comments President Pozza – the slowdown of the German economy inevitably affects the trade of our provinces, as does the still below par contribution of China to international demand. But there are also growing markets (Turkey, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates for example). Our task as a chamber system is to continue to support firms in exploring and consolidating these new business opportunities. We have, in fact, a chamber system with Assocamerestero, the association of Italian Chambers of Commerce abroad, and Venicepromex, the internationalization agency of the Veneto region, which all support you with absolute expertise and in-depth knowledge of foreign markets for a successful internationalization. I address myself – Pozza urges – to entrepreneurs: take advantage of this network, do not remain anchored to traditional markets, but approach the realities that the chamber world puts in place to explore and consolidate new opportunities.”


The big picture

Looking at recent ISTAT data on commercial interchange in the territories for the first 6 months of 2023, two relevant aspects immediately emerge: on the export side, the sharp slowdown in the year-on-year trend change, which for Veneto goes from +9% in the first three months to the current +3.2%. It’s a sign “of suffering” on the sales front in the second quarter, as we will later detail in the analysis by sectors and markets.

While the export trend still closes positively, perhaps suffering from the price-effect thus far, the order intake in the manufacturing sector has dropped significantly, expectations for the coming months have worsened (this is confirmed by the Markit indices, particularly for the Eurozone) and China’s contribution to international demand is lacking (-7.3 percent Chinese imports in the first 8 months of 2023 compared to the same period last year).

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