Markets: going from strength to strength in turbulent times

(May 2012) Italy’s industry showed its muscles in 2011. Exports were up in value by +4.32%. Remarkable considering the weak markets in the USA as well as in most countries of the European Union and considering political turmoil in North-African countries

All the more remarkable considering that exports were down in tonnage (-2.63%) for the same period. Obviously Italy has managed to further develop its unique marketing strategy in recent turbulent times by selling high-quality, value-added finished products to foreign markets in large numbers. This is something to learn from annual statistics by Marmi e Macchine Carrara (IMM) based on official figures.

Imports, on the other hand, were down, both in value and in tonnage (-4.11% to 420 million € or 1,752 million t). The trade organization explained this with a general reduction in storage: Italian companies buy only what they require for immediate use. But the generally weak local economy probably plays into the over-all picture.

Back to exports and to the IMM figures below. Note that unlike figures in statistics offered by other countries, Italy’s figures include also sales of chips in their grand total figures which arrived at a sum of 1.587 billion € or 3.052 million t and the percentage mentioned above.

The main buyer was, once again, the USA by value (+2.5%) as well as by tonnage (+1.75%) to 223 million € or 164,000t. Germany was also among the top buyers, as usual (164 million €, 247,000 t), albeit with a minimal increase. Strong growth on the other hand, could be noted for exports to Switzerland (+12.5%, 100 million €) and France (by value: +9%, 70 million €).

Saudi-Arabia was the 2011’s top buyer and shining star: Italian exporters made 70 million € turn-over or +41.45% (in tonnage 161.893 = +28,9%). The reason according to IMM Carrara was the high oil price.

China was the Far East’s main buyer: marking a 9.6% increase in purchases to 113 million € (or +3.9% in tonnage to 488,000 t).

India deserved special mention in the press release: by value its purchases from Italy were up +11.2% to (80 million €), in tonnage by +15.75% (296,000 t). But simultaneously India became Italy’s most important import trade partner achieving levels of 76.2 million € (298,758 t). That corresponds to 19% over all stone imports or 33% value added granite imports.


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