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The global downturn and its impact on euro area exports and competitiveness


  • di Mauro, Filippo
  • Forster, Katrin
  • Lima, Ana


World trade contracted sharply in late 2008 and early 2009 following the deepening of the financial crisis in September 2008. This paper discusses the main mechanisms behind the global downturn in trade and its impact on euro area exports and competitiveness. It finds that the euro area was hit particularly hard by the contraction in global demand. Moreover, the collapse in the demand for euro area products during the downturn was exacerbated to some degree by unfavourable developments in price competitiveness, resulting in further losses in competitiveness compared to our main trading partners, in line with pre-crisis trends. This view is also confi rmed by evidence from broad-based competitiveness measures, which show that euro area countries recorded losses in productivity during this period. Going forward, the recovery in world trade will depend mainly on a resurgence in global demand and its expenditure composition. With regard to the euro area, as the global economy recovers at varying speeds and given the current growth momentum in emerging economies, the performance of the external sector may be hindered by the geographical orientation of its export markets, which are mainly focused on advanced economies and other EU member states. Furthermore, the strength and sustainability of the recovery in exports will also depend on the structuring process undertaken by European fi rms in response to globalisation-related challenges. Governments within the European Union should therefore focus on policies to strengthen competition and increase market integration, in order to benefit fully from the globalisation process going forward. In contrast, a resurgence in global protectionist policies could dampen the prospects for world and euro area trade and should be strongly resisted. JEL Classification: C32, O11

Suggested Citation

  • di Mauro, Filippo & Forster, Katrin & Lima, Ana, 2010. "The global downturn and its impact on euro area exports and competitiveness," Occasional Paper Series 119, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbops:20100119

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sturm, Michael & Sauter, Nicolas, 2010. "The impact of the global financial turmoil and recession on Mediterranean countries’ economies," Occasional Paper Series 118, European Central Bank.
    2. Sébastien Miroudot & Alexandros Ragoussis, 2009. "Vertical Trade, Trade Costs and FDI," OECD Trade Policy Papers 89, OECD Publishing.
    3. Stolz, Stéphanie Marie & Wedow, Michael, 2010. "Extraordinary measures in extraordinary times – Public measures in support of the financial sector in the EU and the United States," Occasional Paper Series 117, European Central Bank.
    4. Vergote, Olivier & Studener, Werner & Efthymiadis, Ioannis & Merriman, Niall, 2010. "Main drivers of the ECB financial accounts and ECB financial strength over the first 11 years," Occasional Paper Series 111, European Central Bank.
    5. van Riet, Ad, 2010. "Euro area fiscal policies and the crisis," Occasional Paper Series 109, European Central Bank.
    6. Matthieu Bussière & Emilia Pérez‐Barreiro & Roland Straub & Daria Taglioni, 2011. "Protectionist Responses to the Crisis: Global Trends and Implications," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34, pages 826-852, May.
    7. Gardó, Sándor & Martin, Reiner, 2010. "The impact of the global economic and financial crisis on central, eastern and south-eastern Europe: A stock-taking exercise," Occasional Paper Series 114, European Central Bank.
    8. Holm-Hadulla, Fédéric & Kamath, Kishore & Lamo, Ana & Pérez, Javier J. & Schuknecht, Ludger, 2010. "Public wages in the euro area - towards securing stability and competitiveness," Occasional Paper Series 112, European Central Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Angelini, E. & Dieppe, A. & Pierluigi, B., 2015. "Modelling internal devaluation experiences in Europe: Rational or learning agents?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 81-92.
    2. Wagner, Joachim, 2012. "The Microstructure of the Great Export Collapse in German Manufacturing Industries, 2008/2009," IZA Discussion Papers 6393, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Enders, Zeno & Peter, Alexandra, 2015. "Global Banking, Trade, and the International Transmission of the Great Recession," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113022, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Mariarosaria Comunale & Jeroen Hessel, 2014. "Current account imbalances in the Euro area: Competitiveness or financial cycle?," DNB Working Papers 443, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    5. Kiyotaka Sato & Junko Shimizu & Nagendra Shrestha & Shajuan Zhang, 2013. "Industry-specific Real Effective Exchange Rates and Export Price Competitiveness: The Cases of Japan, China, and Korea," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 8(2), pages 298-321, December.
    6. Comunale, Mariarosaria, 2014. "Long-run determinants and misalignments of the real effective exchange rate in the EU," MPRA Paper 59571, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Sep 2014.
    7. Peter Wierts & Henk Van Kerkhoff & Jakob De Haan, 2014. "Composition of Exports and Export Performance of Eurozone Countries," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 928-941, July.
    8. Giuseppe Caivano & Nicola D. Coniglio, 2016. "Long-Run Drivers of Current Account Imbalances in the EU: the Role of Trade Openness," SERIES 03-2016, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised May 2016.
    9. Bernardina Algieri, 2015. "Price and non-price competitiveness in export demand: empirical evidence from Italy," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 157-183, February.

    More about this item


    competitiveness; euro area; Trade;

    JEL classification:

    • C32 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes; State Space Models
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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