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Austria: exports rise in first half 2012

14 October 2012

Despite the difficult economic backdrop, exports underwent slight growth in the first six months of the year. Developments in foreign trade with third countries were particularly positive.

According to preliminary results for the first half 2012 by Statistics Austria , goods exports were up by 1.6% on the previous year, amounting to EUR 61.54 billion. Imports rose by 1.1% to EUR 65.3 billion. This marks a significant slowdown in Austrian foreign trade in comparison to 2011, a year which saw double-digit growth rates. At the same time the trade deficit decreased slightly from EUR 4 billion to EUR 3.7 billion.

It was revealing that exports to European countries stagnated (EU exports: -0.9%), while those to the emerging non-European markets rose sharply (exports to third countries: +7.5%). The share of non-European exports as a percentage of total Austrian foreign trade increased accordingly, from 29.5% to 31.2%. Dr. Christoph Leitl, President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, stressed that the markets of the future are Central Asia, the Far East, Latin America, the Middle East and some countries in Africa. Leitl’s goal is to make Austria’s export structure even more diverse, thereby increasing the share of Austrian exports in the so-called emerging markets from the current 14% to 20% by the year 2020. At present around 80% of exports still go to European countries.

The composition of the export structure also changed: services – particularly knowledge-driven services – are growing faster than goods exports. Another finding was that an ever growing number of small and medium enterprises are exporting goods and services.