Geographically speaking, the European Union (EU) sector continues to remain the Spanish tile industry’s main destination, accounting for 41.9% of exports, although the EU’s growth rates have remained low (1.8% in the first half of 2011).
“So far in 2011, Spain is showing positive growth,” said Rocamador Rubio, Tile of Spain director for the Trade Commission of Spain. “From January to July, U.S. imports from Spain have grown 10%. Our expectation for the second half is to continue this positive path of growth, leaving behind a few years of rather negative results.”
The Middle East has shown 31.1% growth in imports during the first half of this year. As the second highest destination of Spanish tile exports, it accounts for 20.3% of sales. Sales to the Eastern European region, where Russia holds particular importance, have increased 21% and now account for 11.8% of Spain’s total exports.
Similarly, France (with a growth rate near 9.6% during the January-to-July 2011 time period) remains the largest market for Spanish exports. It is followed by Russia (+30.3%) and Saudi Arabia (+30.2%), then the U.K., Germany, Israel, Italy and the U.S.
The Spanish tile industry exported 68.5% of its products to 178 countries, reaching 2.55 million Euros (approximately $3.45million) in sales in 2010, “branding the tile industry as the second-largest trade sector with 2010 exports accounting for nearly 1% of all Spanish exports,” added Rubio.
Rubio further surmised, “If numbers continue as they have in the first half, not only for Spain, but in general for U.S. imports, then we think the bad times could be left behind. That is our expectation and hope for the U.S. ceramic tile market.”