The American economy as a whole is still under considerable pressure and this time, as if by a perfect historical nemesis, seems to be suffering from the financial and economic meltdown that has paralyzed growth in Europe. The same holds true for the construction industry despite the preliminary signs of recovery at the beginning of the year. The flat glass industry is bearing the brunt of the crisis as confirmed by some comments from Gimav member companies, participating in Glass Build America with the largest group stand of foreign exhibitors.
With some exceptions however. Such as Mappi International, a producer of furnaces for flat glass tempering, that can rely on an established market and a large client base in the United States: "The market is extremely weak and our impression was repeatedly confirmed while at Glass Build America. However, we cannot complain - says Nancy Mammaro, owner of the Rome-based company - we are being very successful as our company is widely recognized and has long-standing clients who enable us to achieve satisfactory results".
Equally positive were the comments by Bottero, at the exhibition with two standard but fully operational machines: "We were very positively surprised from the first exhibition day because we attracted many visitors, with some high-caliber professionals” - says Stefano Forlani, North America sales manager – “After the show, the results appeared even more interesting because many orders were placed. We reckoned that we attracted so much attention at the show because we were the only ones offering live demonstrations with glass, whereas in the other booths, machinery was not in use and attracted few visitors". But what is the actual state of health of the American market? "The East Coast and the South Eastern states have started moving out of the doldrums, whereas the central states and the West Coast are still feeling the pinch; the Midwest has large-scale projects and great expectations on the drawing board but no orders were placed. The situation is rosier in Canada, which suffered during the previous crisis and has now shifted into higher gear to the benefit of everyone. In 2011 we have recovered much of the ground lost in 2009 and 2010 and everything points to a satisfactory 2012", said Forlani.
Fluctuating situations with interesting silver linings but that do not point to a clear path of growth. What Glass Build America -- a great and well-organized exhibition staged in a very attractive facility-- has shown, is a potentially buoyant US market that is still incapable of planning any medium-term strategy.