SASSUOLO, ITALY -- Confindustria Ceramica’s recently held conference, “The ceramic industry and the national and international markets,” revealed a 3.88% growth in export turnover against a 2.36% fall in domestic sales. "For the first time, the analysis investigated the behavior of companies according to their size and sales trends in target markets according to the various price brackets,” the association said.

The event, moderated by Confindustria Ceramica Director General Armando Cafiero, featured talks by Stefano Bolognesi, Chairman of the association’s Statistics and Publishing Activities Commission, and Giuseppe Schirone, business consultant manager of Prometeia, was followed by a roundtable discussion between Confindustria Ceramica Chairman Franco Manfredini, BPER Director General Luigi Odorici and Professor Marco Fortis from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. The analysis of the Italian ceramic industry began with the statistics for Italian sales and exports to September 2011.

The Forecasting Report, which as usual outlined the economic prospects and international trade in ceramic tiles in key markets for the two-year period 2012-2013, analyzed for the first time the medium-term trend for various competing residential surface covering products at a world level. The analysis showed that in 2010 ceramic tiles accounted for 36.1% of market volumes, wood 15.5%, stone 5.1%, carpet 28.4% and “other products” 14.8%.

Further, the report also analyzed the effects of the introduction of tariffs on imports of Chinese ceramic tiles to Europe, confirming a 34% drop with respect to the average turnover prior to the tariffs and the considerable share gained by Italian companies. The Balance sheet analysis of ceramic companies 2008-2010 was also unveiled as a useful tool for financial study.

The subsequent roundtable discussion focused on themes such as the measures needed to create a politically united Europe and the risks deriving from failure to adopt them, the nature and new characteristics of this second dip in the world economy following the downturn of 2009, the external European constraints placed on the Italian national credit system, the competitiveness factors necessary for the Italian ceramic industry to resume its growth, the support that the banking system intends to offer to a fabric of small and medium-sized export-oriented companies, and the new strategic positioning of companies and of the Italian manufacturing clusters within the new international context.