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ITALIAN FURNITURE INDUSTY AT MEBEL IN RUSSIA TO REESTABLISH ITSELF AS TERRITORY LEADER
In the first six months of 2008, Italian furniture exports to Russia rose to 387,15 million Euro (up 24.16%); figures obtained by ICE through Istat. The value of trade between Italy and Russia has therefore accelerated compared with 2007, a year in which export to Moscow came to 722,26 million Euro (up 24.16%). Italy is the largest supplier of furniture, furnishing accessories and lighting in Russia: in 2007 it covered a market share of 24.6% on local import.
However, competition has become increasingly fierce. China, Germany, Poland and Ukraine are among the main competitors in Italian interior furnishing and accessories, and Mebel 2008 is considered to be the biggest international industry exhibition in Russia and the former Soviet Union, including every range of furnishing (upper, middle, and low) and styles, both classic and modern. It is therefore an important opportunity for Italian manufacturers to reaffirm the excellence of their product and so they will be appearing at the ExpoCenter exhibition centre in Moscow from November 24th to 28th, for the twentieth edition of the fair. It will be Italy‚Äôs 14th appearance, thanks to the corporate involvement organised by ICE, the Italian Trade Commission.
The main aim of Italian involvement will be to consolidate existing trade relations and gain more, hoping to contain China‚Äôs progress, which represents an increasing threat in the middle and middle-upper product range, in other words, the areas where a large part of Russian demand is concentrated. The average consumer belongs to the middle class and is spread throughout the home territory: not only in the big cities but also in the regions of southern Russia, the Urals, and Siberia, extending to the Far East. Until a few months ago, the prospects of the Russian economy, which in 2007 recorded a GDP growth equal to 7.3%, led us to expect an extraordinary development in domestic consumption, even in the home furnishings sector. However, assessments made by analysts at the beginning of 2008, when the home furnishings market was predicted to increase by around 40-50% before 2010 (with an equivalent value of 9 billion Euro), have been turned around following the collapse of some of the world‚Äôs biggest banks, and with global exchange inventories experiencing an unprecedented crisis.
Even if the emerging nations manage to avoid being touched by the equity market crisis, there are still fears of an imminent slowdown in the global economy that could also affect these nations. There is no shortage of challenges for the Italian wood furnishings sector. The industry is healthy, however, having ended 2007 with increased turnover and exports: proceeds reached 39.77 billion Euro (up 4.5%), while exports rose to 13.71 billion Euro (up 8.4%). The impact on export turnover is also progressing: from 33.2% in 2006, it climbed to 34.5% in 2007. There are positive changes in the Furnishings sub-division too: again in 2007, the revenues of industry enterprises climbed by 3.9% to 23.69 billion Euro and exports increased by 8% to 12.05 billion Euro.