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GIMAV Reports Favorable 2019 Results, Disrupted Forecasts for 2020

Positive results in 2019 were driven by a rise in exports, allowing Italy’s glass processing technologies industry to continue the growth trend that has kept it in a starring role for the past decade, according to GIMAV. Thanks in part to the revision of the customs codes used in the survey, the industry achieved an absolute value of overall sales in excess of $2.6 billion.

Domestic sales by Italian manufacturers were stable, up 0.1 percent despite sluggish demand. Growth in exports and, at the same time, a 5.4 percent decrease in imports, worked in favor of the sector’s trade balance which, at $1,500 billion, accounts for nearly 55 percent of sales: “This means that for every Euro invested in the sector, we contribute 55 cents to our country’s positive trade balance,” says GIMAV’s re-elected President, Michele Gusti. “Those who determine our country’s economic and industrial policies would do well to take this outstanding performance into account by rewarding it more."

The sector’s competitiveness indicators are extremely positive, say GIMAV officials, and both on the upswing, with a 72.2 percent export share of sales and 61.3 percent dominance of the domestic market. Also on the rise are average sales per employee, nearly $341,000.

The industry as a whole saw positive figures, but they are not evenly distributed among the three sectors that compose it.

In fact, flat glass processing technologies fell 1.3 percent compared to 2018, due to small losses in exports and more marked losses in domestic sales. However, sector imports were even more affected by the slowdown in domestic sales.

2020 Forecasts and the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The GIMAV member meeting included looking at forecasts for the current year and discussing the results of the 2020 qualitative economic survey, processed in aggregate percentage form.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, member companies had projected very positive sector results: overall, 86.4 percent of companies interviewed―Italian and international―anticipated growth. The remaining 13.6 percent did not foresee any slowing.

In detail, 91.3 percent of the respondents forecast a rise in growth when considering only foreign markets―8.7 expected them to be stable. Expectations for the domestic market came in at a “more limited” 76.2 percent; 19 percent of the respondents expected it to remain stable, and the remaining 4.8 percent forecast diminishing growth.

The effects of the pandemic have dramatically changed industry scenarios and, to date, it is impossible to make any reliable forecasts of 2020 performance, say officials, especially when considering any further developments that might occur.

To make a useful contribution in this regard, the industry report was supplemented with the results of the survey and snapshots of the situation during the pandemic. Considering that in 2020, the months of March, April and May contributed more than 26 percent of the total to the year’s results in full lockdown, 43 percent of the companies were shut down and, among the companies that were open, 65 percent had to stop production completely. Furthermore, 71 percent of industry companies had to resort to unemployment compensation schemes for at least 70 percent of their workforce.