Spain sees slower growth
The Spanish ceramic tile industry has revised down the forecasts for 2018 (+2%). Exports grew by 1.6% in the first 9 months of the year.
The slowdown in demand in most world markets is having an impact on the Spanish ceramic tile industry. Following the 5.9% growth in total turnover of 2017 to 3.51 billion euros, the forecasts for 2018 announced at the beginning of the year by the industry’s national association have now been revised down. Ascer’s Chairman Vicente Nomdedeu commented: “The industry is likely to close the year with total sales (in value) up by just over 2% compared to 2017”, although “it is difficult to make accurate forecasts due to a range of factors that affect the industry’s performance, most of which are outside companies’ control”.
The export figures in value for the first 9 months of the year reveal a 1.6% increase over the same period in 2017 to 2.099 billion euros. In general, sales remain positive in all markets with the exception of Asia, particularly the Middle East.
“We’re seeing a general slowdown in exports, including a particularly severe decline in several important markets,” continued Nomdedeu. “Saudi Arabia is definitely one of these”. Following a 33% slump in exports to the end of September compared to the same period in 2017, the kingdom slid to 7th place in the rankings of the Spanish tile industry’s export markets.
“Spanish exports have slowed further in recent months both in the Maghreb and in the UK [-2% in the first 9 months of the year, Editor], in the latter case due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit,” noted Nomdedeu. “The Eastern European markets are likewise losing momentum, including a sharp fall in Russia (-3.8%). For the time being the USA is holding strong, although the pace of growth has slackened.” The USA is the second largest export market for Spanish tiles with sales of 198 million euros in the first 9 months (up 14% over the same period in 2017).
The EU remains the largest export region, absorbing 41.7% of Spanish exports. Sales in the EU-28 to September 2018 rose by 5.8% in value, again a slower rate of growth than the +8% reported at the end of 2017.
The forecasts for the domestic market also point to more moderate growth compared to the estimates made by Ascer a year ago.
As for manufacturing activities, Vicente Nomdedeu confirms that the large-scale technological investments made in recent years by companies based in the Castellón cluster “are aimed not so much at increasing volumes as improving productivity, reducing energy consumption and improving product quality through digitalisation of the process and the use of digital printing technologies. Major efforts have been made to expand the range of products on offer, for example by introducing large slabs and increasing the production of porcelain in place of traditional red body tiles.”
Read the article with all figures, tables and charts in Ceramic World Review 129/2018.