MILAN, May 6 (Class Editori) -- China and, above all, India were the winning horses of exports in the non-European Union markets for the business clusters of Lombardy in 2018. This was ascertained by the periodical monitor carried out by Intesa Sanpaolo, which in its quarterly check measured the trends in the fourth quarter of 2018, comparing them with the previous months.
Lombardy exports to China grew overall by 4.2% in 2018, placing seventh in the overall regional ranking. As for India, exports grew by 21.5%. Overall, according to Istat data on the entire industrial landscape of Lombardy, the fourth quarter of 2018 was marked by a considerable growth of exports towards non-EU countries, with an increase of 7.3%. Conversely, the countries of the European Union registered a +3.9% increase, contrary to what was recorded in the previous quarter.
However, the mature markets of continental Europe remained the best performing ones with regard to Lombardy exports, both in the fourth quarter of 2018 (+3.5%), and in the year as a whole, with a cumulative growth of 6,4%. Germany, France and Spain, if taken as a whole, are worth more than a third of the clusters exports.
Germany and France also stood out for their good growth dynamics over 2017, with +6.7% in Germany (+281 million euros) and +6.2% in France (+157 million euros), despite the more restrained increases occurred in the fourth quarter.
The United States also played a leading role in the 2018 export ranking (reporting a +13.5% cumulative performance, +211 million euro), although with very polarized results at the sector level - where the situation of the steel industry remains to be monitored, following the introduction of duties in June 2018 - and of individual clusters.
The Eastern European markets performed well, with the Czech Republic marking the best performance (+14.5%).
The most critical issues reported occured in the United Kingdom (-1.9%), Turkey, the Russian Federation and Algeria, which is linked to the steel sector, especially for construction, dampening the positive effects deriving from the increase in sales in the remaining countries.
Exports to new markets continued to decline during the fourth quarter (-3.9%). Only the temporary recovery that occurred in the second quarter allows emerging markets to contain the 2018 drop in comparison with 2017 (-0.8).
Overall, the fourth quarter of 2018 was marked by a substantial stability for business clusters in Lombardy (+0.7%), however it must be taken into account that the comparison involves a particularly brilliant fourth quarter in 2017, which an increase of 9.8% compared to 2016.
Summing up the results of the three previous quarters, and in particular the very positive performance of the first half of 2018, last year ended with an overall export increase of 3.8% (approximately +109 million euros), being among the best results of the national cluster aggregate, where the average annual export growth was of 2.2%.
As far as individual clusters are concerned, 16 out of 23 monitored companies recorded growing exports above 1% in 2018. Among the best performing clusters, which rank at the top ten in the regional ranking due to the evolution of the 2018 export, five engineering sectors stood out: metalworking of the Arno Valley (+14%), Brescia metals (+8.9 %), taps, valves and cookware from Lumezzane (+6.4%), metalworking from Mantua (+5.5%) and instrumental mechanics from Bergamo (+3.3%). These segments are benefitting from a diverse range of commercial outlets, with an average export radius that is getting wider and wider, also due to the growing weight of new markets.
The 2018 exports of rubber produced in Sebino Bergamasco were also particularly dynamic (+7.4%), despite the slowdown in demand from German automotive companies. Also of significant importance was the performance of Vigevano footwear (+6.6%), driven by luxury markets. The performance of the two wood clusters was higher than the average, with wood and furniture from Brianza (+5.7%) and wood from Casalasco-Viadanese (+3.6%). Pavia rice reached a good result as well (+4.3%).
Even the data of the Milan Chamber of Commerce for the entire industrial panorama of Lombardy confirmed that exports were up 5.2% in 2018, for a value that exceeded 127 billion euros.
Pharmaceutical products have strongly supported the growth of Lombardy exports in the last quarter of the year with a growth of 37.6%, followed by textiles, leather and accessories (+11.3%) and computers and electronic devices. with a quarterly increase of 9.9%.
The other products of manufacturing activities also had good growth rates, with furniture growing by +4.9%, rubber and plastic materials reaching +4.2% and chemical substances and products attaining +4.0%. Exports of basic metals and metal products increased by 3.5%, whereas machinery and equipment raised to a lesser extent (+0.8%).
Taking into account 2018 as a whole, the difference is moderate, with an increase in exports of 5.3% for non-EU countries and of 5.1% for EU countries.
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