Does anyone have any thoughts on why Italy has such a huge Balance of Trade surplus? (US$42bn, 2016 https://data.oecd.org/trade/trade-in-goods-and-services.htm#indicator-chart). I thought Italy was a basket case of low productivitiy, aging population, high youth unemployment and poor, inefficient industry. I don't get what it is exporting of such value: tourism, wine, food, some cars, no doubt machinery. But surely it is importing so much more: tech, food, more cars... Surely this is an export-led recovery that must be reducing unemployment and boosting growth. What incredible (Germanic) consumer restraint (a high savings ratio?). Why is Italy in so much trouble (and voting for populist parties) with such a strong and successful current account? How is it possible that Italy can achieve what the US never can despite the incredible strength of so many US firms (Ford, Apple, Google, Amazon, Starbucks, McDonalds, Walmart..........), not to mention its incredible film, music, software, R&D industries. Is it simply down to the way trade data is recorded? According to tradingeconomics.com (https://tradingeconomics.com/italy/balance-of-trade) March saw a 9.2% fall in exports to the UK, 12% fall to Belgium and an 8% rise to the Netherlands. These are huge swings. Could it simply be that goods to/from China are passing through Rotterdam, Antwerp, UK ports and the data is a mess? i.e. there is no surplus after all, it's just accounting anomalies. Very interested in any views?