The latest figures show that the Indian economy is booming, and seems to be growing even faster than China.This is not a haphazardly-drawn comparison, it’s shown in the hard numbers. While China, the world’s powerhouse, is on a par with the United States, the Indian economy which is more than five times smaller than its famous antagonist, ended the 2014/2015 period with a staggering 7.4% increase in GDP, closing the October-December quarter at + 7.5% versus + 7.3% for China. The forecasts for 2015/2016 (the fiscal year begins on April 1) are even pointing to an exceptional 8.1% which for some optimists could even reach 8.5% by the end of the period.
These are truly extraordinary results, and have even surprised Indian economists who were not expecting a performance of this kind.
Why all the surprise? It’s very simple but true: such a galloping growth rate, which is significant given the present times even for an emerging economy that is definitely growing faster than mature economies, seems to have caught everybody unawares. Until recently the general complaint was that Indian society was not moving ahead, rooted in its ancient caste distinctions, pulled back by illiteracy, with endemic poverty, recently subject to flights of capital and no investments being made. However, all it took was a new way of calculating GDP to go from the barely sufficient results of 2013/2014, that is +4.7% (excellent by our standards, but not for a developing economy) to a more than good 6.9%. Now however, it seems that the situation is definitely better than it had been depicted until just the other day. This will need to be counter-proved by the new fiscal year, but meanwhile the stock markets are celebrating and optimism is rising.
In our industry too, all the omens seem to be in place. Based on a study prepared by ICE (Italian Trade Promotion Agency), the entire sector is set to rise by 15% over the next three years, more specifically it is expected to increase by 10-12%, in the construction industry, 20% in the automotive sector, 15-20% in consumer goods, and 15-18% in the pharmaceutical industry. There are signs for massive investments by local producers to build up production capacity, particularly as regards flat glass for the construction industry, decorative glass, and hollow glass for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and beverages. All this accounts for the positive feedback provided by the Italian companies taking part in the Gimav group stand at the 3-day Glasspex in Mumbai – BDF Industries, Glass Service, Mappi, Ocmi OTG, Olivotto Glass – and by the two companies attending as separate exhibitors, Bottero and Pneumofore. Laura Biason, Deputy Director of Gimav, who participated in this Indian experience, commented as follows: “The turnout at the show was relatively low, however attendees showed a very high level of attention. Our companies were positively impressed with the keen interest shown, tangible proof that Italian products are today much sought-after by the local glass industry. The atmosphere was decidedly optimistic: our booth offered a catalog library and we distributed plenty of information about the member companies that did not directly exhibit here. We also assisted visitors by offering correct information and accurate answers to very specific and motivated questions. We were delighted to notice visitors’ interest in the new offerings, and this clearly goes to show that the market is healthy and keen to invest.”