ASCER, the Spanish Association of Ceramic Wall and Floor Tile Manufacturers recently released its forecast for the 2018 year-end at its traditional international press conference at Cevisama. During his presentation, Vicente Nomdedeu, ASCER’s president, outlined the forecast for 2018 production, sales and export results, which reflect the strength of Spain’s industrial sector. He also offered an insight into future strategies and the challenges that lie ahead for the tile industry.
Production figures in the Spanish sector reached similar levels of those obtained in 2017, standing at 530 million m2, whilst overall sales growth looks set to rise by about 2% to a total of €3,600 million (~ $4,041 million). Almost three quarters of the total sales correspond to the 187 countries the industry exports to. Growth on the domestic market continued, rising by 7-8% and is estimated to reach €890 million (~$ 999 million) by the close of 2018. Exports in 2018 are expected to reach €2,710 million (~$ 3,044 million) (+1%), a new sector record, although it could have been higher if the trend registered during the first quarter of 2018 had continued.
“We mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we are living in a global environment where uncertainty is the order of the day,” said Nomdedeu. “Generalized rising protectionism, unresolved trade disputes, doubts surrounding Brexit or the difficulties experienced by key markets are all factors that are limiting our export capacity.”
By regions, Europe remained the tile sector’s largest market between January and November, accounting for 49,1% of all exports. The principal destinations included several EU member states, including France (+7.2%), the UK (-1.4%), Italy (+4.2%) and Germany (+9.3%). They all registered positive growth rates except for the UK, affected by the uncertainty caused by Brexit. Particularly worthy of note is the sharp hike in US sales (+11.8%), which ranks second on the list of Tile of Spain’s export markets. The American continent accounts for 18.3% of exports.
Exports to the Near East stood at 16%, a drop of almost 16%, attributable to the poor performance of key markets such as Saudi Arabia (-26.2%), Israel (-3.8%) and Lebanon (-12.2%). However, exports to the Maghreb region rose by around 14%.
As for exports to the Russian Federation, this year saw the country’s return to the list of the top ten export markets, ranking tenth with €69.2 million (~$77.8 million). The figures for Eastern Europe remained practically unchanged in comparison with those of 2017 (-1.5%) accounting for 6% of international sales.
One of the most widespread demands is for a determined industrial policy both in Spain and the European Union. “What’s needed are initiatives to support the industry, creating a competitive frame that will make it an economic driving force.”
Power is one of the businesses’ greatest operating costs, impacting negatively on their competitiveness, as Spain’s prices are far higher than those of its competitor countries. ASCER’s president also called for “a regulatory framework that can guarantee the payment of the power produced by cogeneration plants and secure their survival.”
Nomdedeu made special mention of growing difficulties in world trade and called for greater support from the corresponding authorities in order to tackle the numerous obstacles companies are encountering. Other demands include improved infrastructures, particularly regarding the Mediterranean railway corridor and support from European institutions regarding the emissions trading system from 2020 onwards.
For more information, visit www.ascer.es.