Italian stone industry: 2017 figures good for production (+7.2%) and exports (+8.5%)

 

After the slight downturn in 2016, 2017 signaled a return to growth for the Italian stone sector - which includes both stone materials and the technologies and equipment to quarry and process them - that showed a significant increase in both output (up 7.2% from 2016) and exports, up 8.5%.

 

On the whole, with revenue of nearly 4.2 billion euros, foreign sales close to 3.2 billion, a strong propensity to export (with exports reaching 75.9% of production) and above all with an active annual trade balance of 2.8 billion - about 6% of the nation's as a whole - the Italian stone industry in 2017 was again one of the healthiest sectors of the Made in Italy, maintaining its leadership worldwide.

The 2017 economic situation delineated by the Confindustria Marmomacchine Studies Center shows that last year, after a slight downturn in 2016, overall exports of stone materials and extraction and processing technologies were growing at a good rate (+8.5%), with foreign sales worth 3.186 billion euros.

Where stone materials were concerned in 2017 exports replicated the previous year's, for worth of 1.931 billion euros. This is a figure attesting to the essential stability of Italy's exports of marbles, granites, travertines and natural stones in general after a 2016 that closed with a downturn of 3.9%. In detail, foreign sales of raw stone increased by 24.1%, for total revenue of 436.6 million euros, while exports of finished and semi-finished products decreased 5.4% from 2016, for worth of 1.494 billion. This backsliding in sales of processed materials can be attributed to a general downturn in world demand for stone products due to the persistent political and economic instability on various markets strategic for the sector. For rawblocks and slabs the main destination markets were China (201.2 million, +56.8% from 2016) and India (81.2 million, +20.4%) while for finished and semi-finished products the United States was in the lead (413.9 million in imports, down 7.5%) followed by Germany (128.2 million, down 5.8%), Switzerland (93.6 million, +0.6%), the United Kingdom (73.3 million, -0.7%) and France (up 7.2% to 71 million).

As for the stone technology sector, the association's Studies Center figures showed a strong uptake in Italian exports of machinery, installations and tools for extracting and processing stone materials, with growth of 24.7% (after a 16.2% downturn in 2016), taking the techno-stone industry's foreign revenue back to the record level of 2015, with sales worth 1.255 million euros. This increase in exports - which in 2017 accounted for 83.4% of total sector revenue - confirms the good performance by makers of stone-working technologies and equipment, who continue to demonstrate exceptional dynamism on foreign markets where they continue to enjoy undisputed leadership despite growing international competition. Driving foreign sales were the United States (with purchases worth 159.5 million euros) followed by Algeria (66.5 million, up 97%), Spain (64.7 million, down 20.9%), Mexico (62.5 million, up 73.3%) and India (62 million, up 172.7%).

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