Source: Studies and Statistics press office of the Chamber of Commerce of Treviso - Belluno
The comment of President Mario Pozza
The rebound in exports from Veneto (+23.8%), Treviso (+24.9%) and Belluno (+44.3%) compared to the same period in 2020 is robust, but somewhat expected. However, I invite you to carefully analyse the comparison with the export levels for the first half of 2019, between light and shade: because it is from this temporal comparison that the true data comes out, and it is clear whether the various sectors are recovering their pre-Covid performance. This is the key to interpretation offered by the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Treviso-Belluno, Mario Pozza.
From this perspective of analysis, continues Pozza, - it can certainly be said that Veneto exports in the first half of 2021, taken as a whole and amounting to €34.1 billion, exceed the export levels achieved in the first half of 2019, for a growth of +5.0%. This positive dynamic, - Pozza warns, - is not, however, replicated uniformly in all provinces and for all sectors.
The trend in Treviso exports is emblematic in this regard. It grew by +3.5% compared to the first half of 2019: a great result. But there is still some ground to make up over the two-year period for machinery (-6.7%), textiles-clothing (-12.7%), footwear (-4.7%), and the food industry (-2.3%): a sector that is unable to recover even when compared to 2020, due to the closure of Ho.Re.Ca. channels until late spring.
Even for exports from Belluno, - continues Pozza, - distinctions must be made. Although it experienced a significant annual rebound of +44.3%, exports still fell by -3.7% in the two-year period. The result is largely conditioned by eyewear: it recovers +54.4% compared to the first six months of 2020, but remains -7.3% lower than in the first six months of 2019. The contraction is almost -10% with reference to non-EU markets.
The good news for Belluno, however, is the following, - concludes Pozza: - if we do not consider eyewear, exports of the other sectors are not only in recovery on an annual basis (+25.8%), but exceed the results achieved in the first six months of 2019 (+5.6%, +34 million euros). Machinery (particularly the cold chain), textiles-clothing, food, electronics, carpentry all contribute to this.
What conclusions should be drawn from these figures? - asks President Pozza. - We still need to work hard on promoting our products abroad. In my opinion, we need to do this on several levels: engage with the major B2B contractors, presenting ourselves as specialists for the various sectors. I am thinking of all our carpenters and specialists in mechanical and plastic processing. Promoting our best Made in Italy and Agrifood image at trade fairs. At the same time offering services to our companies to protect them from the great unknown that hangs over the future, given the trend in raw material prices. The upward momentum of some raw materials may be coming to an end, but the cumulative price increases have already eroded the profit margins of our companies. A new bottleneck in energy supplies is emerging.
Maritime logistics remain complicated: freight rates have exceeded 4000 points, which has not happened since 2010. We are witnessing shortages of inputs, such as the case of microchips: components costing 2 euros are delaying or skipping entire batches of car production. These are new paradoxes that will have to lead us to rethink the geography of global value chains, to better govern strategic factors, including by bringing back to the vicinity processes that are functional to our production.
The general picture
In a press release issued on 10 September, ISTAT published data on foreign trade by region and province for the first six months of 2021. The year-on-year variation of exports in the period considered (+24.2% in Italy, +23.8% in Veneto), with similar dynamics for imports, highlights the expected rebound of trade after the negative peak conditioned by the pandemic, recorded precisely in the first half of 2020. It is a rebound that is amplified to a greater or lesser extent in the Veneto provinces on the basis of the prevailing territorial specialisation, with the sole exception of Rovigo, which instead shows a negative export dynamic on an annual basis (-29.2%), essentially determined by the chemical-pharmaceutical sector (whose foreign sales had however quadrupled in the first six months of 2020 compared to the previous year).
Having said that the rebound - certainly significant - a comparison with export data for the first half of 2019 would be more interesting, so as to understand, even by regions and sectors, whether trade has returned to pre-Covid levels. It should also be remembered that in 2019 Veneto had achieved an all-time export record, for a value of more than €65 billion (almost half of which was achieved in the first half of the year), despite the disruption caused to the global economy by the geopolitical rivalry between the US and China. This means that we are therefore faced with a good benchmark.
From this perspective of analysis, it can certainly be said that exports from Veneto Region in the first half of 2021, taken as a whole and amounting to 34.1 billion euros, are a good indicator of the growth of the economy....