Published in STUDIES

E. Athanasiou, A. Kotsi, E. Nitsi. 2022. | ISBN: 978-960-341-129-1

Cover Meleti 83 LOW-200-294


The country's export performance in recent years has attracted particular interest, both analytical and at the policy level. During the economic crisis, as well as in the subsequent period of the pandemic, Greece's exports of goods showed significant growth despite the adverse conditions, providing support to the country’s productive sector and to the Greek economy as a whole. The present study focuses on a dimension of export performance, which, so far, has not been sufficiently studied in the case of Greece. This dimension is related to the degree to which exports of goods tend to show a greater degree of diversification over time, or, on the contrary, a greater degree of concentration in specific markets and products, such as, for example, goods in which the country has a comparative advantage over its competitors. 


The study investigates the performance of the Greek economy in the field of goods exports during the past two decades, in the light of the role that the diversification/specialisation of the country's export portfolio may have played. The analysis uses detailed data on Greek exports of goods and key macroeconomic variables and other data concerning Greece and its trading partners, while also calculating suitable diversification/concentration indicators for the country’s goods exports, as well as relevant competitiveness indicators. Furthermore, the study conducts an empirical investigation of the relationship between product diversification/specialisation and export flows in the case of Greece.


From the analysis of the evolution of the country’s goods exports in terms of products and on the basis of the relevant concentration index values, it seems that, especially during the period following the onset of the economic crisis, an important structural feature of Greece’s goods exports was the relatively high and rising degree of specialisation in specific product categories. In particular, the analysis points to an extremely high share and a large increase in exports of petroleum products, as well as a significant share and increase in exports in the sectors of pharmaceuticals, machinery, appliances, etc., aluminum products, plastics, electrical machinery, vegetable and fruit preparations, fruit and dairy products. On the contrary, exports decreased in the sectors of knitted garments, cotton, iron and steel, and articles of iron and steel. Despite the significant increase in exports of the manufacturing sector, the share of manufactured products in Greece's exports remains one of the lowest among Eurozone countries, while Greece also lags behind in relation to the level of technology of its industrial exports. With respect to the products of the agri-food sector, the country shows significant activity in the exports of products of protected geographical indication (PDO, PGI, GI).


The analysis of the structure of Greece’s exports by geographical destination suggests that the Eurozone maintains a high and relatively stable share of the country’s goods exports, while the non-Eurozone countries of the EU and other European countries show a significant but declining share. In parallel, countries of the Middle East and South Asia show an increasing share in Greece’s total exports of goods. The assessment of the geographical dispersion of Greece’s goods exports, indicates a fairly high degree of diversification, which, in fact, strengthened slightly over the period under review due to the increasing participation of Middle Eastern and Asian countries in Greece’s export activity.


The results of the empirical analysis indicate the importance of intensifying existing trade relations with each destination country, through the increase of exports of products that Greece already exports to each country. This conclusion does not diminish the importance of geographical diversification, i.e., the opening to new markets abroad.

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