Cleto Sagripanti, the new president of Anci, the Italian shoe industry federation, predicts that its members will give a boost of €3.1 billion to Italy's trade balance this year, if the trend recorded in the first five months persists for the rest of 2011.

In the first five months, the trade balance of the sector improved by 19.4 percent as shoe exports rose by 17.2 percent in value to nearly €3 billion and by 9.7 percent in volume to 108 million pairs.

In terms of value, Italy's shoe exports to other countries in the European Union went up by 12.2 percent, with significant increases in France and Germany of 16 and 15.6 percent, respectively. Elsewhere, Anci reported increases of 20.2 percent in the U.S., 29.2 percent in Russia, 26 percent in Japan, 41 percent in Hong Kong and 55 percent in China.

More data and comments on the Italian industry in the next issue.