We have already emphasized various times that Vitrum 2011 will offer the opportunity to monitor the current health of the global economy, particularly that of the glass sector, after the upheavals of the past two years.

A first check, in actual fact, will be provided by Glasstec in a very few days, given the massive presence of exhibitors and visitors expected. But beyond the hard numbers, essential benchmarks always available even if only in retrospect, it is particularly interesting at this point to understand the ambience, the “feeling” with which market’s top players are experiencing the current moment and are preparing for the immediate future.

For this reason we had a quick chat with Cinzia Schiatti, current President of Gimav and the leader of her own family business and, because of this, a faithful interpreter of the feelings of the sector.

Ms. Schiatti, the economic data is often conflicting, with some showing a strong recovery while others point to a slowdown. What is the real situation, seen from inside the sector?

“Unfortunately we cannot talk about a full recovery. That is, the markets are recovering, but the trend is not continuous. It is fluctuating, with frequent ups and downs. This phenomenon will probably continue for a while before a more consolidated growth rate is found.”

Is this true of all markets, including the more viable ones?

“Yes, this phenomenon is worldwide. For example it is well known that China was slowing down even though much was written off by government intervention, much more than occurred anywhere else. And so it continues. Right now the greatest satisfaction comes from South America where there is a strong demand for machinery, while demand from the Middle Eastern markets is more moderate. In the Arab Emirates in particular the situation is stalled: the great results of recent years have suddenly collapsed due to the enormous difficulties experienced by local businesses. The feeling is that they took the classic big step, and are now feeling the extra pressure of overexposure in terms of the market’s absorption capacity, especially in construction.”

What can we expect from Vitrum 2011?

Vitrum 2011 will certainly provide a better window onto the market than Glasstec 2010, because the economic dynamics will be easier to interpret with an extra year of experience after the great global crack. I think we can predict a large turnout of mostly international exhibitors who are interested in showing their production on a world stage, to a worldwide audience.”

Do you see any danger to Made in Italy?

“Not immediately. However real, widespread improvements in equipment production technology have not yet reached our level. What is true, however, and we can see this through the increased number of international exhibits, is that international competition is getting very tough.”


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