Glasstec 2002, the industrys topmost event of the year, has just closed, leaving a climate of moderate enthusiasm among the trade.The large lineup of Italian companies at Düsseldorf had been waiting for the exhibition to open amidst a great deal of uncertainty. This came after a first semester 2002 that had been overshadowed by worrying signs of stagnation in some markets and of a real crisis in others.In 2001, the industry had posted record sales, totaling 966.9 million Euros, with exports accounting for more than 73%. Made in Italy products recapturing important shares of the domestic market, (imports fell by 14.51% over 2000), and exports grew by 22.69%, exceeding 709 million Euros.The trade balance for the year closed with very large surplus for our country: more than 653.5 million Euros. An exceptional season for Italian production that heightened the sharp standstill in early 2002.
Persistent political tension worldwide and the lack of concrete signs of a reversal in the trend, made projections for Glasstec 2002 very uncertain. Now, after the event, the climate has changed: international buyers are more interested and we appear to be heading towards a slight but steady pickup. The 9% posted for our exports in January-July 2002, versus the same period last year, should fall further, allowing the industry to close 2002 on acceptable values. Although there are no anticipations of an immediate upturn in demand from the United States or central Europe markets that have been the most hit by the recession -- some emerging countries continue to be very dynamic, first among these China, Russia and eastern Europe.
All in all, the major efforts expended by Italian companies in general and by those associated with Gimav in particular, in a large-scale attendance at Glasstec 2002 in Düsseldorf, appear to have hit the target.
The German show, (whose schedule is expected to drop from 5 to 4 days), reconfirmed its role as the not-to-be missed appointment on even-numbered years for the industry, attracting large numbers of trade people from across the world. The overall impression was of a slight fall in the number of visitors, but definitely not in terms of their caliber.
In conclusion, 2003 is expected to be a major turning point and VITRUM 2003, to be held at Fiera Milano from 25 to 28 June, will be the most authoritative opportunity to confirm growth rates and to ascertain if this new wave of optimism was founded.