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The Italian agri-food sector has improved the balance of trade in the first half of 2018

ISMEA data: balance is negative (-2.1 billion euros) but in net recovery. Wine is still at the top, and has a surplus of 2.7 billion euros
Bilancia commerciale dell'agroalimentare italiano in negativo, ma il vino è sempre il top performer

Despite the good performances of its excellent agrifood products, wine in the number one position, the Italian balance of trade in the sector remains definitely in the negative territory, though the negative balance has decreased significantly. The figure indicated 2.1 billion euros less in the first 6 months of 2018, compared to -2.8 in the same period in 2017, and a deficit reduction of 778 million euros. Combined export growth reached 20.2 billion euros (+3.1% compared to the first half of 2017) and a slight decline in imports (-0.8%) to 22.3 billion euros. These results are from the Italian services institute for agrifood markets, ISMEA data, which highlight that compared to a substantial stability, however, the negative balance for the item agriculture (-3.8 billion euros) is offset by an active balance in the food industry, which rose from +920 million euros in the first half of 2017, to over 1.7 billion euros in the first half of this year. Wine is the sector that by far marks the largest active balance, at +2.7 billion euros, followed at a distance by fresh and processed vegetables (+834 million euros) and grains and derivatives (+561 million euros). The worst negative, however, comes from fish products (-2.5 billion euros), animals and meat (1.6 billion euros) and industrial crops (-1.3 billion euros). The European Union is clearly the number one market for Italian exports, emphasizes Ismea: “66% of the total value of food products exported from Italy remained within the EU, reaching 13.4 billion euros in the first six months of the year (+4.2% on a trend basis). Performance resulted positive for all the main market destinations, with the only exception of Austria (-3.1%) and Spain (-0.6%). In reference to the main countries, Germany has increased imports of Italian agri-food products 5.3% for a value of 3.5 billion euros, France has increased imports 6.2% for almost 2 billion euros and the United Kingdom has increased 1.1% for 1.6 billion euros. The overall trend of exports to non-EU countries is, though, somewhat more modest (+1.0%), for a value of 7 billion euros. The results indicate that increases were more significant in Canada, (+6.9% for a value of 383 million euros), in Russia (+4.6% for 248 million euros) and in Switzerland (+3.6% for 783 million euros)”.

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