Industrial Districts: exports resume in Q1 2021

Industrial Districts: exports resume in Q1 2021. Good results in the first three months of 2021 take us closer to pre-pandemic levels

The analysis of the Industrial Districts, by the Intesa Sanpaolo Research Department, shows that in the first quarter of 2021 exports returned to growth, showing a progress of +6% at current prices compared to the first three months of last year.

Impressive results were achieved by Household Appliances (+29.8%), Metallurgy (+23.9%, which was also affected by the recovery of production prices) and Furniture (+15.1%), all growing at double digit rates. Mechanics (+7%) and Metal Products (+6.9%) follow.

Exports of Construction Products and Materials (+2.3%), Food and Beverages (+1.9%) and Other Intermediates (+1.8%) closed with a slight increase.

In the Fashion System, the significant drop in exports of intermediate goods (Tanning and Textiles; -25.2%) was contrasted by important signs of recovery in the Districts specialised in consumer goods (Clothing, Leather Goods, Footwear and Jewellery; +5.2%).

At a regional level, Tuscany stands out (+13.6%), in particular with Leather Goods and Footwear in Florence, Jewellery in Arezzo, and Clothing in Empoli. The Districts of the North East (+6%) and North West (+5.1%) are also recovering.

Some important drivers of District growth have restarted: France (where exports have risen by +11.8%), Germany (+6.8%), Switzerland (+8.8%) and above all China (+51.1%), to which the Republic of Korea has been added (+36.5%).

The good results achieved in the first three months of 2021 have allowed the Districts to approach pre-pandemic export levels: the delay compared to the same quarter of 2019 is -2.8%, but 77 Districts have already fully recovered what they lost in 2020, thanks to the drive of the North East and some sectoral supply chains. These include the Home System and Agricultural Food (+9.5%). The Fashion System is lagging somewhat behind.

Over the coming months, exports are expected to continue their recovery and it is very likely that several Districts will be able to complete the recovery of what was lost on foreign markets during the pandemic crisis by the end of 2021. District companies will be able to seize the opportunities for growth on international markets, where trade is accelerating.

The Districts of the Metalmechanic sector and the Home System, as well as the Agricultural Food sector, are well positioned. The only important exception will be the Fashion System, penalised by a first part of the year still affected by the pandemic and a propensity to consume luxury goods that will need time to return to pre-Covid levels.