The United States are back on track

The US is experiencing an especially lively market scenario, proving once again it is a powerful driver of the global economy.

Prospects for the glass industry also point to a brilliant year ahead.    

The United States have accustomed us Europeans, original inventors of western society and lifestyle, to view them as the cardinal point of reference for our economic and political security. History has repeatedly shown that, on the whole, this trust is well-founded, given the numerous rescue missions in which the Americans have taken the lead role. But, there have also been less positive influences and even notably negative ones, like the 2006/2007 subprime crisis, at the source of the economic-financial crisis of 2008, the ill-effects of which are still being felt.

Now that the United States appear to have permanently moved beyond the recession and achieved a (mind-boggling for us Europeans) growth rate close to 4% in the last six months, the expectations that we enjoyed, (even) during recent years, for consistent growth are beginning to raise their heads again. Unemployment recently fell to 5.9% (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics) and, combined with other economic dynamics, is expected to allow the 2015 GDP to rise by about 3.5% (Source: IMF). And yet, until recently, not all that glittered was gold. Still, the Americans are much less content than what, at first glance, it would seem they should be. Feeling the squeeze most is the middle class who, despite the recovery, find themselves needing to reduce spending. Wages (on hold for a long time), and the new jobs being created (often part-time or seasonal, or low-level positions), combined with obligatory spending, which has skyrocketed in the areas of healthcare, education and services (rent, cell phone, internet, electricity, etc.) have led us to conclude that America is experiencing a phenomenon of stable, but unbalanced growth.

Instead, news at the beginning of December says that employment increased by a further 44,000 jobs and that in November salaries rose on average by 0.4% (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics): the increase looks modest, but is indicative of the beginning of a new and long-awaited phase that runs counter to what was feared would be a “rise in poverty”.

Given the current scenario, it is meaningful to hear first-hand how things stand from one who knows the US market well and is engaged in it, at least from an industrial and commercial stand point. We put the question to Dino Zandonella Necca, member of the Vitrum Board and currently its Vice President, as well as General Manager of ADI, specialized in the production of diamond tools for the glass industry, who confirms in good part the positive news: “In the United States we are growing well, our subsidiaries are even experiencing a double-digit increase in sales. Some indicators run counter -- building and construction, for example, has not fully recovered while, on the other hand, the automotive market is very lively, as is the related glass industry. It appears a new phase of general wellbeing is under way, even if it is still not being felt across the board because the middle class, as in the rest of the world, has undoubtedly lost some of its purchasing power. Businesses, and families, too, have a less burdensome relationship with money management than in Europe and, specifically in Italy. With the banks, everything is quick and easy; the Americans on the whole are less bound by bureaucratic straits and are more adroit at business. The US is doing well – concludes Dino Zandonella Necca – and for 2015 I foresee very favorable prospects for our industry, too.”

600450 The United States are back on track
Date: 6 January 2015

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