A growth in exports and a strong pickup in the domestic market helped boost the Italian glass sector in 2015, according to an association report.

At its general meeting, Italy’s Association of Italian manufacturers and suppliers of machinery, equipment and special products for glass processing (GIMAV) said exports accounted for 80% of sales in 2015 for the glass sector.

The stronger positive trend was underlined by a pickup in the domestic market, which was more sustained for the flat glass sector. This good result accompanied a growth in exports, accounting for 80% of total sales.

A detailed analysis shows an increase in exports to the NAFTA countries with a 58% gain, as a result of the initial pickup in the US economy but also because of sales to Mexico, growing at a faster pace (up by 73.27%).

The European Union remains the main export market for these products which grew by 18.38%. As far as the non-EU countries are concerned, the most striking figure was an increase in sales to Turkey, which topped the ranking of export markets.

Exports to Brazil and Russia took a nosedive due to the socio-political and economic instability of the former and the geo-strategic political crisis in the latter.

For machinery, products, and accessories for the processing of flat glass in particular, international sales rose by 5.40%.

The USA is the main outlet followed by Belgium which is the leading importer in the EU. Poland is third, increasing its imports, and with Germany holding on to its ranking despite a slight fall. Sales also fell to France, which dropped from 6th to 13th position.

Overall, the European Union remains the largest market, whereas in the Middle East, imports by Saudi Arabia surged (rising from 26th to 8th position) and Oman climbed from 97th to 10th position.

Hollow glass exports rose by 4.01%. The EU is Italy’s largest export market for hollow glass with France ranking first ahead of Poland, Germany, Croatia and Spain.

Turkey came first in the general ranking for hollow glass exports. Next was Mexico, rising significantly, while China maintained its third position.

Greater positivity is being fueled by a turnaround in the negative trend on the domestic market, which has posted a significant increase in sales.

This is the result of economic incentives aimed at making Italian products more competitive on global markets. The Nuova Sabatini incentive has made it easier for companies to obtain loans to invest in new machinery, systems, and equipment while the Superammortamento incentive has increased the tax deduction for companies that buy or rent new machinery.

These measures are proving to be effective and Italian companies are updating their machinery and systems to top-notch levels, as is required of a country that is always in the forefront in this industry.

Overall, the figures indicate that the sector is strong and strengthening its position on the industrial scene. As a result the estimates for 2016 are optimistic, particularly for exports (which account for the largest share of company sales), and with the international situation expected to improve. The same favourable forecast on the domestic front comes from hopes that incentives for investments will be confirmed in the future.