Italy’s businesses are among the most prolific exporters. The new scenarios see growth in Europe (photo 1, Berlin) and the US, and recession in the emerging countries, traditionally among the biggest importers (photo 2, Moscow and photo 3, Beijing).It’s too soon to draw any conclusions or to make any forecasts but changes in the world’s economic equilibrium are creating a fast-changing export landscape with very different market trends. The glass industry seems to be less affected and, despite the average 0.5% year-on-year decrease in Italian exports (source: Il Sole 24 Ore), durable goods scored positive results overall.The grinding to a halt of the global economy, especially in the emerging countries, most influenced EU and non-EU exports towards the end of the year. Pending official figures that can offer a clearer picture of the situation, we spoke with some of the main Italian glass processing companies, which are the high-tech leaders in this field.
Alessandro Crescentini, Spare Parts Manager at Ocmi OTG, is satisfied overall with 2015 and moderately optimistic about 2016: “We were very busy on the Asian market with large orders for production lines and pharmaceutical glass containers throughout the year. We think this trend will continue for a large part of 2016 and are expecting good news from other markets and the “tableware” industry as well. While we are still very present in Asia, which makes up our main export market, we will also be looking carefully at other geographical areas such as South America because of the new emerging political scenarios. We also expect important news from sealed stemware and from talks on projects with leading European and non-European companies. We closed 2014 on a positive note, there should be a moderate increase in 2015 and are optimistic about 2016. We have significant technological innovations for existing solutions to show to our customers, calling for more sales action on various fronts”.
For Aldo Faccenda, a member of the board of directors at Bottero, things are looking good overall: “Our exports increased this year, with some difficulties in markets such as Brazil and Russia. There was a good pickup in North America, Africa and the Middle East. In Asia, there was a slight slowdown in China but we are working well in Japan. We are mildly optimistic about 2016, because we are continuing to invest in flat and hollow glass, but in some cases the deterrent is payment problems. There are many opportunities in the world, but we must consider that there are also many restrictions because of the different, and sometimes difficult, financial and political situations.”
As the helmsman of a multinational group by vocation, Alessandro Fenzi has a very broad vision of the global market: “It’s difficult for Fenzi to talk about exports to Europe because we have production plants in many countries. We can however say that the European market in general has gained momentum compared to the past. Germany has slowed down a little, but the other countries that were in the doldrums until a few years ago like Portugal, Spain, Ireland and even Italy, are not doing bad now; others like the UK and Poland are doing really well. In brief: Europe is definitely faring better in 2015 and things will also be better in 2016 than they were in the past. If the falling prices of raw materials and a weaker Euro are also taken into account, I would say that the next three years will be better than the previous three. Looking farther afield at eastern Europe, Russia remains a problem. As an energy supplier, its situation is the opposite of Europe and this drawback is compounded by political problems: there is a lack of optimism. People are rightly spending on their basic needs, while are cautious for the others. Next year will certainly be no better than 2015 for Russia. In South America things are contradictory: Brazil’s woes persist, whereas the new government in Argentina has brought in a big wave of enthusiasm. It’s a matter of seeing what the economic impact will be. China is on everyone’s mind, with everybody talking a great deal about the country. While actually growing less than before, it continues to be fast-developing, with excellent skills, highly motivated and very solid assets. I am and remain optimistic.”