Textiles and footwear sector drives hike in Albanian exports

Textiles and footwear sector drives hike in Albanian exports
Annual change in foreign trade (%).
By bne IntelliNews November 20, 2017

Albania’s exports grew by a robust 14.2% y/y in October, driven by a hike in exports of textiles and footwear. 

In recent years, Albania has benefited from its low costs, communist-era history of garment production, and proximity to fashion powerhouse Italy to reinvent itself as a supplier to the clothing industries of Italy and other West European markets. 

In October, Italy remained Albania’s top export market, accounting for 67% of its goods sales to EU markets in October, the latest data from statistics office Instat showed. Meanwhile, the EU absorbed 78.0% of Albania’s exports during the month. 

According to Instat, in October Albania managed to boost its exports to Italy (by 7.5%), Kosovo (38.0%) and Spain (81.0%), which offset a decline in sales to China (-21.6%), Bulgaria (-10.4%), and Turkey with (-63.6%).

Albania saw an increase in exports across all categories, with the largest contribution to the total coming from textiles and footwear, which contributed 5.5pp to the overall increase. Construction materials and metals added a further 4.9pp. 

Still, the trade deficit rose 15.2% y/y in October, as imports continued to outstrip exports. Despite the increase, exports stood at only ALL25bn, less than half the value of imports during the month.

The rise in imports — up 14.8% y/y to ALL57bn (€427mn) — was driven by a hike in imports of minerals, fuel and electricity, contributing 4.8pp, as well as higher imports of construction materials and metals, contributing 3.6pp. Imports of machinery, equipment and spare parts also grew, though they added a more modest 2.0pp.