When one thinks PIIGS, one usually imagines countries with collapsing economies, 50%+ youth unemployment, and current account deficits so large they are about to drag down the ECB, Bundesbank and Germany. And while that is absolutely correct for the most part, there is one product which the PIIGS, or in this case Italy, are all too happy to export in size. Gold, and not just to anywhere, but to that ultimate safe haven - Switzerland. From BBC: "Italian exports of gold ingots to Switzerland have soared in recent months, data has shown. Exports to Switzerland were 35.6% higher than in February 2011 "mainly because of sales of non-monetary raw gold", statistics agency Istat said. This followed a 34.6% year-on-year rise in exports to Switzerland in January." And the absolutely funniest attempt at spin ever:
"Experts say improvements in the trade deficit could be a sign that Prime Minister Mario Monti's economic reforms are starting to take effect."
Uhm, when the country is exporting the only real asset it has for when it will need to backstop its own currency following the inevitable collapse of the EUR, this is not exactly a sign that the country's reforms are taking effect, but rather that everyone else in Europe is stockpiling the precious metal in advance of "some" event, which is coming.
In the meantime, and closely related, as we posted two months ago, another soaring Italian export... are bank deposits.
Come to think of it, the two are quite closely tied.