Iran: new prospects in a complex scenario
Despite the difficulties, the Iranian ceramic tile industry is pursuing new development plans to upgrade the production mix.
Iran’s economic and political situation has faced a number of obstacles and rapid changes over the last decade, including fluctuations in oil prices, the imposition and lifting of sanctions, a rising exchange rate and inflation. All of this has led to a series of ups and downs in the manufacturing industries and a sense of unpredictability. The turbulence in financial markets further escalated with the unilateral reintroduction of US sanctions in November 2018.
In 2018 Iranian ceramic tile production rose to 383 million sq.m and national consumption tot up 230 million sq.m, still far from the peak reached in 2012.
By contrast, exports have maintained an uninterrupted growth trend. In 2008, Iran exported just 27 million sq.m of tiles, 8.5% of its output. This figure increased fivefold over the next 10 years to reach 151 million sq.m in 2018 (mainly sold to Iraq and Pakistan), establishing Iran in 5th position behind the world’s major exporters. But despite the growth in export volume, average export value fell by 30% over the 10-year period from US $4/sq.m in 2008 to US $2.82/sq.m in 2018.
Working conditions in Iran today are of course far from simple, due to the lack of currency, the financial isolation and the continually changing laws on imports. However, the local ceramic industry has good potential for recovery and development. This is the opinion of Mr. Mohammad Sadighian, founder in 1991 of the Milan-based Atlas Trading Company, which is now one of the most active international trading companies in the Iranian ceramic industry, supplying a full range of technologies, machinery, parts and raw materials.
According to Mr. Sadighian, “the sector’s dynamism within the context of Iranian industry as a whole is demonstrated by the fact that in the 1990s there were just 7 ceramic companies in the country whereas there are now 127. Most of these enjoy good levels of profitability thanks to careful management of resources”.
Read the interview published in Ceramic World Review 133/2019