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“Made in Italy” export keeps accelerating: 4% growth in the next four years, up to €490 billion

Italian exports are set to grow at an annual rate of 4% from this year until 2020, when they are expected to amount to nearly €490 billion, a report by Italian credit agency SACE shows.

This is a step-up compared to the 1.7% growth seen in the previous four years. The picture is outlined by the “Italy Unchained” report that SACE will present today at the Italian stock exchange in Milan.

Sales abroad

Italy is set to close 2017 with foreign sales totaling €433 billion (compared to €417 billion in 2016). That will rise to almost €450 billion in 2018 and €468 billion in 2019. According to the SACE analysts, the figure will reach €489 billion in 2020.

Growth drivers

For this year, Italian exports will grow thanks to traditional markets in Europe, North America and Asia. The best performance is expected in North America (+4.9%), driven by the United States – and followed by Asia (+4.6%), where the best prospects will be in China, India, and Indonesia. Advanced markets in Europe also hold good prospects (+3.4%, with €41 billion in exports estimated from now up to 2020), and emerging markets in Europe (+2.9%). Growth is seen at 2.1% this year in the Middle East and North Africa, despite the geopolitical and economic difficulties.

The 15 high-potential markets

There are then 15 markets that – based on risk indicators, growth in the economy and demand, the opening to imports, the dynamics of Italian exports in recent years and competitive position compared to traditional competitors of Italy – can be identified as 15 “high potential” places.

Not in the absolute sense, but for exports and Italian investments: a basket of target markets – both emerging and advanced – which accounted for €85 billion of Italian sales in 2016 (equal to 20% of overall exports) and which could take in more than €100 billion in 2020, in light of the increasing demand for imported goods (+5.7% on average annually in the next four years).

These markets are Saudi Arabia, Brazil, China, Arab Emirates, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Qatar, Czech Republic, Russia, the US, South Africa and Vietnam.

The most dynamic sectors

But which sectors will grow the most in the next four years? The chemical sector (€42 billion of exports in 2016) will register the most sustained rate of growth in foreign sales (6.3% in 2017 and 5.8% in 2018-2020), thanks to the recovery of investments in the industrial sectors in which chemicals are used, from the petrochemical to the pharmaceutical industry.

Industrial machinery (the top Italian sector for foreign sales, with more than €85 billion worth of exports in 2016) will manage to maintain a competitive advantage which will allow it to replicate 2016’s 2.2% rate of growth this year as well, with growth rates then seen accelerating in the subsequent three-year period.

Means of transport (€45.2 billion of exports in 2016) will see foreign growth of 5% this year and 5.4% in 2018-2020, thanks to the performance of all segments – cars, ships and aircraft- destined for retail clients or linked to strategic sectors of the economy.

“We are not heading toward the end of globalization, rather toward a new phase of globalization,” said Roberta Marracino, director of SACE’s study and communication center. “This is an even more interconnected phase, in which some markets close off, but many open, moving the focal point of global competition from single states to the global value chain.”

by Laura Cavestri,

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