Corona-induced slump in global clothing sector dragged down Albania’s 2020 exports

Corona-induced slump in global clothing sector dragged down Albania’s 2020 exports
By bne IntelliNews January 18, 2021

Albania’s exports fell by 9.0% in 2020, with the biggest negative contribution, -5.3 percentage points (pp), coming from the textiles and footwear sector, according to data from the Albanian statistics office, Instat. 

Albania is an important nearshore production centre supplying Italy’s apparel sector. But as non-essential shops were closed and people stayed at home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, global clothing sales slumped. 

Geographically, the deepest falls in Albania’s exports in 2020 were to Italy (13.7%), followed by Kosovo (12,0%) and Spain (30.4%).

Aside from textiles and footwear, there was a -3.5pp contribution from minerals, fuels, electricity and -1.2pp from construction materials and metals to the overall 9.0% decline in exports. 

The increases in food, beverages, tobacco exports (a +1.2 pp contribution) and machinery, equipment and spare parts (+0.5) failed to offset the deep falls in other sectors. 

In the full year 2020, Albania’s exports amounted to ALL272bn (€2.2bn), while imports fell by 6.8% to ALL605bn. The trade deficit was ALL333bn, down by 9.9% year on year. 

The worst month for both imports and exports was the lockdown month of April, when exports fell by as much as 45% y/y and there was a dip of around 40% in imports. 

Since then, trade has rebounded, and Albania reported y/y increases in both imports and exports in December, with exports reaching ALL23bn, up 5.4% y/y, and imports rising by 10.5% to ALL61bn. 

Compared to November 2020, exports fell by 15.6% in December, while imports were up by 10.1%. The foreign trade deficit in December was ALL38bn, up by 13.9% y/y and 34.8% month on month.