At Mir Stekla Italian Exporters Celebrate Russia’s Recovery

Russia’s economy has continued to grow for several years and the latest international crises appear to have only slightly slowed its progress.

Overall, at Mir Stekla the results were extremely gratifying for all, as Gimav member firms confirm.

Italy’s exports to Russia have taken off with renewed vigor, signaling extremely gratifying results for the early months of 2012. Corroborated by official data, it’s the Russian economy itself that has entered a highly consistent recovery phase. Following the rough year of 2009 and two years of a slow and then more sustained rally, pre-crisis levels have been reached. In fact, 2011 closed with a remarkable 4.3% increase in GDP over the previous year; and for 2012 the World Bank is forecasting a further 3.5% growth rate.

Both agriculture and building/construction greatly impacted the growth of Russia’s economy in 2011, especially in the second half of the year. By year’s end , the latter (construction) had contributed an increase of 5.1%. This number is significant because it reveals, on one hand, that access to wealth is open to an ever-increasing number of citizens and, on the other, that the banking system has again begun stoking credit.

These brilliant results become even more beguiling when the excellent business relationships between Italy and Russia are factored in, with trade figures that in 2011 reached 46 billion dollars. It’s a well-established trend, confirmed by data for the first quarter of 2012 that show an increase of 7.6% in Italy’s exports to Russia. Made in Italy products hold a certain fascination, especially for the Russian consumer, who is smitten with Italy’s traditionally popular clothing, shoes, home furnishings and food products. But our machinery is also high on the list; in fact the machine building industry is among those with the greatest growth in Italian exports to Russia.

In the area of glass processing machinery, the results are even more revealing. After reaching a record-setting level in 2008, Italy’s exports to Russia began to slip noticeably in 2009, due to the global financial slump, which weighed especially heavily on Russia’s economy. In 2008 Russia was the leading market for our exports, until it reached the record level of 12.86% of overall exports of glass processing machinery, accessories and special products. The crisis was most severe during the two dramatic years of 2009 and 2010, with declines of 54.67% and 43% respectively, dropping Russia to 4th place in the special ranking of the top clients for our products. “The statistical data for 2011 seem to show that finally the long-awaited trend reversal has begun – explains Renata Gaffo, Director of Gimav – our exports have grown 81%, bringing the country back up to third place in our ranking; but more importantly, returning to sales turnover levels reached in that market by our member companies in 2009”. The trend curve is almost the same for both sectors – flat glass (windows, large glazing surfaces, home furnishings, etc.) and hollow glass (bottles, glasses, ampoules, vials and pharmaceutical containers), even though the greatest leap forward was made by the latter. These are the sectors Gimav represented with its member firms at Mir Stekla, the leading industry trade show in all of Eastern Europe, held June 13th to 16th in Moscow. The impressive influx of visitors, and especially the huge interest the Italian companies elicited served to confirm Russia’s renewed vitality. Although, Europe’s extremely delicate situation and its repercussions on international markets do not yet make it possible to say that the overall the financial-economic crisis that began four years ago is definitively behind us.

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