Moscow and Chicago: far distant, yet so close

by Andrea Serri

To Italian ceramic tile manufacturers, April traditionally means two of the most attended world trade fairs: the Batimat Russia, which is to take place in a few days in Moscow; and Coverings, set up a couple of weeks later in the US. Both areas are of great economic and geopolitical interest, already hosting our products yet confirming– even if with different modalities – a great potential for further improvement.

Russia is facing severe economic crisis – worsened by low oil prices, run-away devaluation of the Russian rouble, and a weak domestic demand – as well as military crisis, therefore making trading and exchanges difficult for all foreign suppliers. The crisis started a couple of years ago, and 2016 is expected to be the most difficult year to go through before the crisis is completely over – which is likely to take some time. Despite that, Russia remains a strategic market for Italian ceramics industry, which through its 30 firms and trademarks at Batimat Russia confirms its attention and interest into the region.

The United States, on the other hand, are facing a big boom, thanks to expansionary financial policies, increasing GDP, and a sparkling construction market – which bring Coverings to a complete sold out. America is back to the 2000s, when ceramics stopped being a product for hard surfaces and started to be regarded as valuable and prestigious. Today it looks like a sort of El Dorado, but it should be reminded that in 2009 ceramic consumption fell tremendously; and that, at the time, Italian firms would all be there lined up at Coverings, waiting for the storm to pass.
Moscow and Chicago, far distant yet so close.

March 30, 2016

[ Editorial of Cer Magazine NEWS n. 3/2016, the Ceramics of Italy e-magazine ]