Also in Brazil, the corona lockdown seems to bring about a greater citizens’ appreciation for their homes

Brazil's furniture industry is making more and more efforts to include natural stone as a material in its products. Our photo shows one of the objects created in a design competition at the FIMMA trade fair in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

The furniture industry in the state of Rio Grande do Sul recorded a strong recovery in May and June / Abirochas figures for natural stone

The furniture industry in Brazil’s state of Rio Grande do Sul in the very south of the country is apparently coming out from the deep Corona valley: while in April 2020 there had been a slump of (-)27% compared to the same period of the previous year, May 2020 brought a significant recovery with a growth of (+)42.1% compared to April 2020. Furniture is calculated here according to unit numbers.

For furniture producers all over Brazil, the increase from May 2020 to April 2020 had even been as much as (+)53.4%.

These are the latest figures published by the furniture industry association in Rio Grande do Sul (Movergs). The state plays the most important role in this industry in Brazil.

The association’s representatives attribute the recovery to the citizens’ experience with the lockdown: “Because people have stayed at home for longer periods, they began to care more about their comfort and needs for everyday products,“ says Marcelo Haefliger, International Director Movergs. There had been a significant increase in sales of “household appliances, furniture and mattresses”.

On the home market, the e-commerce sector grew strongly. But there was also a clear recovery in exports. The most important customers were the USA with (+)41.1%, Uruguay with (+) 9.9%, and the United Kingdom with (+)9.5%. Canada also grew strongly.

Abirochas figures for the first half of 2020

In Brazil as elsewhere, the natural stone industry might benefit from the worldwide trend to upgrade the home. Yet it has to be noted that investments as kitchen worktops in granite, bathroom tiles in marble, or slate slabs for the shower in the garden are much more expensive than furniture pieces.

After all, there was an increased demand for building materials in Brazil in May 2020, as Cid Chiodi from the consulting firm Kistemann Chiodi states in the statistics of the Natural Stone Association Abirochas for the 1st half of 2020. He cautiously calls this a “positive sign”.

But as far as both exports and imports of natural stone are concerned, Brazil’s figures reflect the global economic downturn: in June 2020, there was a decline in exports by (-)30.30% in value compared to the month before, and a decrease in imports by (-)46.62%.

Accumulated for the complete 2020, this would be a year-on-year decline of (-)18.86% in exports in value terms and (-)23.82% in imports.

Due to the difficult economic situation, Brazilian exporters had to lower their prices, Cid Chiodi notes: the average price of exports fell by (-)13.6% per ton.

Movergs (1, Portuguese)

Abirochas (Portuguese)

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(13.08.2020, USA: 08.13.2020)