Emilia-Romagna, 2024 GDP will drop to +0.6% but exports and industry will restart

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The economy of Emilia-Romagna is no longer a locomotive but a bicycle «and although we pedal harder than the rest of Italy and much of Europe, we are still on bicycles, while countries like China and India they race in Ducatis.” This is the image that Guido Caselli, deputy general secretary of Unioncamere Emilia-Romagna and director of the regional study center, uses to talk about the prospects of the Via Emilia, which after closing 2023 aligned with +0.7% growth in the national GDP, is preparing for two difficult years, in which it will have to be content with separating the average Italian data by a maximum of two tenths of a point, a far cry from the +6.3% of the Indian GDP or the +4.2% of the Chinese one.

«According to Prometeia forecasts, growth in the region will settle at +0.6% in 2024 and +1% in 2025%. to ceramics. But after the -2% of 2023 for the industry we expect a recovery, albeit timid, in the coming months with a +0.6% of added value in 2024, also thanks to the recovery in exports”, explains Caselli.

The geopolitical chaos weighs more than the flood

The effects of the flood are measured in the lower growth of Ravenna and Forlì-Cesena compared to the other provinces and will continue to weigh on agriculture in 2024 (-3.2% in 2023 and -0.7% in 2024) but to slow down the Emilia-Romagna dynamics is above all global geopolitical uncertainty, in a region that boasts (and sometimes discounts) the highest degree of internationalization in Italy: 64 billion euros of exports in the first nine months of 2023 (at current values) they correspond to a per capita figure of 14,406 euros, almost double the Italian value (7,928 euros per capita) and approximately 2 thousand euros higher than fellow citizens of other large exporting regions such as Veneto and Lombardy.

Exports, however, showed their weakness in the previous year, with -1.8% of sales in quantity, compensated in nominal terms (+1.4%) by the increase in price lists, but still not enough to raise the fate of manufacturing, if food and mechanics are excluded: the two leading sectors of “Made in Emilia” are the only ones that also increased their turnover in the third quarter of 2023 (by +1.8% and +1.45 respectively) compared to an average drop of -1.3%. First quarter of decline for the regional industry after ten consecutive quarters of growth, marked by declining orders which do not bode well for the first half of this year. Even if sales on foreign markets should return to positive already in 2024, Prometeia predicts, with +2.8% on an annual basis in real terms.

Record employment and queues at Caritas

What stands out for the abundance of plus signs are the data on employment that emerge from the annual report on the economy presented in the Region at the end of the year, which should however be read with caution: +0.7% of employed people expected for 2024 , after the +1% in 2023 (31 thousand new jobs were created, Istat certifies, in the first nine months of 2023) and the unemployment rate which dropped to a physiological 4.8% are in keeping with numbers that are anything but how comforting that come from Caritas and require a reflection on the quality of work and wages.

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