In a context of global pandemic with thousands of people in ERTOs, rising unemployment and entire sectors such as the hospitality industry on the brink of the abyss, exports are an oasis in Girona that shows the best side of an economy that is dying in the ICU.
Last September, the companies in the province were the only ones in Catalonia to increase their turnover compared to last year. They did so by registering 474.2 million euros, 4.1% more than in September 2019, while the exports of companies in Barcelona, Tarragona and Lleida fell by 6.4%, 4, 8 and 7.8%, respectively. As if in Girona, during the ninth month of the year, the virus that has shaken the economic and social foundations of the whole world had not existed.
In fact, if we go back in time, we do observe the impact of the pandemic on Girona’s foreign trade. According to data from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, last April the economic downturn sank sales by 23%, and in May it did so by 15% respectively in 2019. In a way, it was obvious ; the whole planet was in a similar situation. But in the following months the export push of the Girona counties has recovered to pre-crisis levels, and even the luxury of increasing them by 0.35% has been allowed. It is not a big growth, but considering where we come from and what are the export numbers of the rest of the provinces, it is a revealing fact that indicates what is the specialty of many companies that do their activity in the province. And it raises a question: how much would the exports of companies in Girona have grown if there had not been covid-19?
At the moment, the actual figure for January to September stands at 4,217.87 million euros in products sold abroad. The meat sector continues to lead exports by far. According to ACN, during the first three quarters of the year, these companies have entered 1,358 million euros in sales abroad, 12% more than the same period in 2019. As for the figures for September, l ‘increase has been more moderate, of 5% with regard to September of the past year, and have sold products by a value of 150.94 million.
In second place is the machinery sector, which has lost momentum during the first ten months of 2020. Between January and September they have entered 332.63 million, 7% less than the same months last year. This decline is accentuated in the month of September, where 36.53 million have been invoiced, 9% less than in September 2019.
Pharmaceuticals are the third sector with the highest revenue in the region totaling 30.51 million euros this September, 4% more than the same month in 2019. However, during the first three quarters have increased by 17% the volume of sales abroad reaching a turnover of 320.56 million.
By country, France remains the main market in the Girona region. Girona companies have invoiced 116.12 million this September from this market. This is a slightly higher figure than last year, with a 6% increase. Who has represented a greater increase in volume of exports is China, with 38% more income compared to September 2019. Italy, Germany and Portugal close the ranking of markets with more Girona exports, all with figures similar to those of 2019.
Descent in Catalonia
Catalan exports fell 5.5% year-on-year in September to 5,818.6 million, according to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism. In a year marked by the economic impact of covid-19, Catalonia has exported products worth 47,367.4 million since January, 14.1% less than the same period last year.
However, the decline is increasingly moderate (by August, exports had fallen by 15.2%). Catalonia does not lose share and continues to represent 25% of exports to Spain as a whole.