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Italian wine exports boom

Published:  23 July, 2008

Amid all the crisis talk about wine lakes and enforced distillation comes the news that Italy's wine exports are in unexpectedly rosy health. Comparing the first quarter of 2006 with the same period in 2005, the official Italian statistics institute, ISTAT, has revealed that sales abroad have increased 17% by volume and 9% in value.

Most of the increase has come from outside the EU, where the figure is +20% both in volume and in value. Within the Union, volume is up 16%, but value is down by a fractional 0.5%. The biggest problem market is the once-thriving one of Germany, where value of exports was down by 10%, despite a 6% rise in volume. The Germans continue to trade down - let's see if that continues after the World Cup.

Value and volume of exports are up, on the other hand, to France, Spain, Holland and Britain (despite Italy's slide to 5th position overall in the UK). The recently communitised countries of eastern Europe are doing very nicely, especially Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. Russia continues to boom, with exports up 20%. As for China, wine shipments have more than doubled since last year. India's imports are as yet modest, but it is encouraging to note that they have quadrupled in a year.

Things are progressing nicely in the USA, where volume is up 12%, value 18%. Canada is doing well too, though Switzerland is down 9% in volume.