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ZF English

Record high exports fail to bridge gap

Record high exports fail to bridge gap
29.03.2004, 00:00 5



The trade deficit rise was somewhat curbed in the first two months of the year, as the exports surged to 1.5 billion euros in February. Yet, the gap is still large: up 31% from the year-ago period.



In the first two months of 2004, exports amounted to 2.7 billion euros, up 11% from the year-ago period, whereas imports stood at 3.3 billion euros, 15% higher. Romanian exports have been on the rise over the last years, but at an increasingly slower pace, and January data, showing a mere 1% annual growth had sent analysts and authorities on the alert. Therefore, last month's results had to be outlined.



"In February 2004, exports advanced by 22.7% (1.5 billion euros) month-on-month, while imports merely climbed 15% (their volume coming to 1.77 billion euros). In this context, the February trade balance deficit was 45 million euros lower month-on-month," said Eugen Dijmarescu, the delegate minister of Trade. As a rule, data referring to the trade deficit are released by the National Statistics and Economic Studies Institute.



"February data are great, but the growth trend is not a sure thing. I do not think that a month-to-month variation of exports points to a long-term tendency. There was a similar situation last July, when exports jumped from 1.2 billion euros in June to 1.5 billion euros, only to go down to 1.2 billion euros in August. This shows that such monthly increases are not sustainable and therefore we can expect a correction in March," said Radu Craciun, an analyst with ABN Amro.



Whether the deficit is high or low, the evolution of Romania's trade indicates, through the 11% two-month rise of exports, that the economy is increasingly linked to the exterior and that the elimination of fiscal incentives for exporters (12.5% profit tax) did not have the expected negative effects.



"We must note that February data point to a smaller decrease of exports. This is the full half of the glass. The empty half is the fact that trade deficit is increasingly larger as compared to last year's value. For the gap to shrink, the following decisions announced by the Government have to come into effect: tighter control of the budget deficit, closing down loss-making enterprises whose imports are high, a tariffs and customs policy that would selectively discourage imports," Craciun also said.
sorin.pislaru@zf.ro



 

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