COVID, RESTAURANTS, AND FOOD: THE DATA FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2020
Coronavirus has knocked down production data for agriculture, the food industry, spirits, and the traditional food sector. Yet, in the first quarter of 2020, there were surprising data. Let's see together what happened …
Agriculture, food industry, spirits, traditional food sector: the data show a significant drop compared to the corresponding period of 2019 (the period under consideration concerns the first three months of this year). However, not all data is negative, and there are some surprises.
Let’s start with agriculture. This sector too, like the other productive sectors of the Italian economy, was affected by the health emergency linked to the pandemic in progress, registering a decrease in value added of -1.9% compared to the previous quarter, a less marked drop in the three main sectors, and employment (-2.4% of working hours and -1.8 units of workers employed). Moreover, there is significant uncertainty on the investment front, overall data relating to the three economic sectors, with a loss of more than 8%. This is what emerges from the photograph taken in the first quarter of 2020 by CREAgritrend, the quarterly bulletin developed by CREA, with its Center for Political Research and Bioeconomy.
A sharp contraction occurred in the first four months of 2020 in the industrial production index of the food industry (-4% in March and -2% in April) and drinks (-7.1% in March and -23% in April), with the sectors most affected by the fishing lockdown (in March -9%) of bakery products (-6.1% in March), and the production of other food products (-19.3% in March and -21.8 in April) in the production of alcoholic beverages (-39.4% in March and even -73.7% in April) and soft drinks (in April -23%) compared to 2019. Otherwise, the food industry turnover index continues to grow (+ almost 5% compared to the first quarter of the previous year), driven by foreign sales (+ 10%), despite the drop of -4.4% on the domestic market. The beverage industry recorded a sharp reduction (-14%) on the local market and increased + 3.5% on the foreign market. An explanation can be found in the increase in consumer prices of food and drink products in the last quarter compared to the corresponding months of 2019 (in March and April, the index for food products increased by 1.5% respectively and 3.3%).
Agri-food exports in the first quarter of 2020, equal to about 11.25 billion euros, recorded an increase of + 8% compared to the same period of 2019, while imports grew by + 4.2%. Flows to Germany, France, and the United States increased sharply (over 10%). The most dynamic product sectors for exports were “pasta, bakery and pastry products” and “vegetables and legumes,” with variations that exceed 10% and “coffee, tea, and spices” with over 30%; for imports meat (+ 17.3%), fruit (+ 24.8%) and above all drinks (+ 41.7%).
Based on the data collected on twitter from January 30, the official start date of the Covid-19 pandemic in Italy indicated by the Ministry of Health, and June 15, 2020, the date corresponding to the beginning of phase 3, a climate of slight distrust emerges towards the primary sector and its policies with a prevalence of negative and very negative judgments (50%), compared to positive and very positive ones (47%).
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