A tough first six months for Italian stone sector exports, with a decided downturn in foreign sales of stone materials (-24.5%) and of machinery and complementary equipment (-26%). There was an encouraging trend reversal in June, but a situation of uncertainty remains. Marabelli: “An unprecedented situation, urgent intervention is needed to sustain exports and reboot the domestic market”.
As amply predicted, the Covid-19 emergency that joined an already unfavorable global economic picture in the first half of 2020 saw a sharp drop in exports for the Italian stone/techno-stone industry, which encompasses both materials and stone-working technologies. According to official statistics processed by the Confindustria Marmomacchine Studies Center, in the first six months of the year Italian stone companies’ foreign sales in fact dropped by 25%, from 1.405 to 1.053 million euros.
We remind readers that the Italian stone/techno-stone sector has more than 3,200 companies and some 34,000 employees, with 2019 revenue of nearly 3.9 billion euros, exports worth 2.9 billion, a heavy propensity to export (which reached 73.9% of the value of output) and above all an annual trade balance of more than 2.5 billion – around 5% of Italy’s overall trade balance.
About the sector situation spoke Flavio Marabelli, Honorary President of Confindustria Marmomacchine, who during the association’s recent general assembly provided a statistical analysis, stressing that “the health emergency has had heavy repercussions on trends in our industry, which in the first half of the year registered a decrease of about a quarter of its exports from the same period in 2019. The first signs of an uptake came only in June, when sales of both finished stone materials and of stone technologies showed an encouraging trend reversal, getting close to monthly pre-Covid levels. On the other hand, exports of raw materials continue to do badly. Whether data for June showed the start of an effective rebound will be known only in the second half of the year, although it will be hard to compensate for the losses in the first part of the year and return to 2019 amounts”.
“What our sector urgently asks from the government,” continued Marabelli, “are targeted actions that enable our companies first and foremost to be able to travel to and sell on foreign markets – immediately applying the Export Pact – as well as to give greater support to domestic demand, making structural the Enterprise/4.0 Transition Plan incentives, strengthening the New Sabatini law and fostering the greater use of natural stone in building, for example by broadening possible interventions covered by the 110% Superbonus”.