Current Economic Trends
Current economic trends from 5 to 9 October 2020: electricity consumption, traffic of electronically tolled vehicles, exports and imports of goods and production volume in manufacturing
The available short-term indicators of economic activity indicate that the several-month recovery and rebound to pre-crisis levels slowed in August and September. After a sharp fall during the containment measures, goods trade and manufacturing continued to recover in the summer months, but in August the strengthening slowed. At the end of September, electricity consumption was by 5% and freight traffic by around a tenth lower year on year.
The year-on-year decline in weekly electricity consumption increased in the last week of September for the third consecutive week. In the second week of September, weekly electricity consumption had come very close to last year’s level (-1%) for the first time since March, but in the last week of September, the year-on-year decline increased for the third consecutive week (-5%). Among Slovenia’s main trading partners, Austria recorded a similar year-on-year decline (-6%), while the declines in Croatia and Italy were smaller (-2% and -3% respectively). In other main trading partners, consumption was higher than last year, in France by 5% and in Germany by 3%.
Freight traffic on Slovenian motorways from the second half of August to the beginning of October was around a tenth lower than before the epidemic. After the sharp decline with the declaration of the epidemic, freight traffic had increased more strongly since mid-June and by mid-August it was already higher year on year (adjusted for the holiday effect). It then declined again and remained lower year on year in the following weeks. In the first week of October, it was thus 7% below the comparable level in 2019, with the number of kilometres travelled by foreign hauliers falling more than the number of kilometres travelled by domestic hauliers (by 10% and 2% year on year respectively).
The recovery of goods trade continued in the summer months, but growth eased considerably in August. With the rebound in activity in main trading partners, exports to EU countries recovered in particular, but were still almost 7% lower year on year in August. Exports of most main product groups recorded a recovery in the summer months, especially motor vehicles exports (around a quarter of total exports), but these had also fallen the most during the containment measures. The strengthening of growth in recent months is related in particular to car exports to France and less to the recovery of the automotive industry in the EU. Since the lifting of containment measures, imports have also gradually increased, but, like exports, remained lower year on year. This holds true particularly for exports of intermediate goods, which (excluding oil and oil products) were more than 8% lower than in the same period of last year. After a fall in March and April, export expectations improved further in the summer months and exceeded last year’s levels in September.
In August, the strengthening of manufacturing production slowed. The slowdown was most pronounced in the low- and medium-low technology industries. Growth in medium-high technology manufacturing slowed less. Production in high-technology industries, the only industries to exceed last year’s levels (by a tenth in the first eight months), remained high. The lag behind last year’s levels remained the largest in the manufacture of motor vehicles and in industries integrated in the automotive supply chain (in particular the metal industry, but also the rubber industry and the manufacture of electrical equipment).