Italy's exporters have recovered to pre-pandemic levels, according to two reports jointly released on Friday by the country's National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) and the Italian Trade Agency (ICE).
According to the 35th edition of the "Italy in the International Economy" report and the "Yearbook of Foreign Trade and International Business Activities," the recovery of Italy's exports is due in large part to strong economic performances from the start of this year, reports Xinhua.
The reports were formally presented to Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio on Friday by ISTAT President Gian Carlo Blangiardo and his counterpart at the ICE, Carlo Ferro.
The "Italy in the International Economy" report showed that in the first quarter of this year, the volume of the country's exports was 19.8 per cent higher than in the same three-month period of 2020 -- which included the very start of Italy's coronavirus lockdown in March -- and 4.2 per cent higher than in 2019, the year before the pandemic struck.
Both documents said that the positive trends continued beyond the end of the first quarter of this year, though based on preliminary data only. But figures released by ISTAT on Friday appear to substantiate this conclusion.
The figures for May showed a 42 per cent increase year-on-year (last May much of the Italian economy was under lockdown). Strong year-on-year gains were registered in exports both within the European Union (up 40 per cent) and outside the 27-nation bloc (up 44 per cent).
According to ISTAT, annualised gains were seen across all economic sectors except for the exports of pharmaceutical, chemical-medicinal and botanical products, which declined by 17.7 per cent compared to May 2020.
In the period between January and May, exports of machinery and equipment, base metals and metal products, electrical appliances and motor vehicles all grew by over 25 per cent compared to the same period last year. The exports of motor vehicles alone increased by 64.5 per cent.
According to ISTAT, Italy's trade balance at the end of May was 5.642 billion euros (6.657 billion US dollars), virtually unchanged from the 5.620-billion-euro balance a year earlier -- indicating that exports and imports have roughly grown in step.