At the end of 2016, the Italian ceramic tile industry shown positive signs. Both total sales and the output surpassed 400 million square meters. Sales grew by 4.6%, reaching 415 million sq.m. And the production raised by 5.4% to 416 million sq.m. Confindustria Ceramic Chairman Vittorio Borelli confirmed these figures and pointed out that this result help to the increase in the domestic market (+5.5%, from 80 to 85 million sq.m) and the growth in the exports volume (+4.4%, from 317 to 331 million sq.m). The growth in exports of Western European markets accounted for nearly half of Italian exports and it also grew by 4.9% over 2015. In the area of Western Europe, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands made the best performance; sales to the NAFTA region also rose by 5% due to the good performance in the US market; sales to the Balkans and the Gulf states grew by 4.7%; sales to the Far East up by 3.3%; there were small increase in exports in Central and Eastern Europe (+2.7%), Latin America (+2.1%) and North Africa (+1.7%). It is noteworthy that the sales to the Central and Eastern Europe actually has been affected by the downturn of Russian market. The sales of Italian tiles to Russia declined 10% in 2016, though this fall was smaller than that of previous year.
Currently, the housing demand and the building activity are prosperous in Italy. It is expected that the Italian ceramic tile will continue its growth in 2017-2018, though the increase may be smaller than in 2016. And its domestic sales is estimated to grew by an additional 2.2% this year and a further 2% in 2018. Its exports are forecast to increase by 3.3% this year and by 3.8% in 2018. The improvements are expected to occur in the areas of Western European, Latin America, North Africa/Middle East and Far East. Domestic production is also expected to increase by 3.4% this year and by 3.7% in 2018.