World Sanitaryware Exports and Imports
World ceramic sanitaryware import/export flows increased by 64% from 1.7 to 2.8 million tonnes over the period 2006-2016, corresponding to an annual compound growth rate of 5.1%. However, this growth came to an abrupt standstill in 2016 when sanitaryware exports shrank by 1.4% with respect to 2015. An analysis of exports by geographical area of production reveals a fairly heterogeneous trend.
While Asia remained the world’s largest sanitaryware producer with a 55% share of world exports, it closed the year with a 4.7% year-on-year contraction to 1.59 million tonnes, the second consecutive decline after the previous year’s 0.6% fall. This contraction was mainly due to the slowdown in Chinese exports, contrasting with the upturn in the other main Asian exporter countries, India, Thailand and Vietnam.
The European Union, the world’s second largest exporter region, continued its 2015 growth to reach 583,000 tonnes (+2.4%), largely driven by the strong performance of the regions three largest exporter countries, Portugal, Poland and Germany.
North America (NAFTA) likewise underwent expansion to reach 368,000 tonnes (+8.2%) thanks to the strong performance of Mexico. Non-EU European countries also performed well (+1% to 188,000 tonnes), driven by the recovery in Turkey. South America resumed its growth (+10.7%, 80,000 tonnes) following 4 years of steady decline, while Africa remained firmly in negative territory (-14.4%, 72,000 tonnes) with the second consecutive fall after 6 years of uninterrupted growth.
The rankings of the top 10 exporter countries remained essentially unchanged in 2016 with respect to the previous year apart from the appearance of Vietnam in tenth position in place of Italy, which dropped to eleventh place following a 13.9% downswing in exports with respect to 2015.
The fact that eight out of ten countries saw an increase in sanitaryware exports compared to the previous year is a positive sign.
China continued to top the rankings following an astonishing 520% increase over the ten-year period 2006-2016 (corresponding to a compound annual growth rate of 20%), up from 200,000 tonnes in 2006 to 1.24 million tonnes in 2015. But as we mentioned, China’s export growth came to an abrupt halt in 2016 when it suffered a 7.2% slump in exports with respect to 2015. China alone accounted for 78% of Asian and 43% of world exports.
Mexico, the second largest exporter country with an 11.2% share of global exports, reached 322,000 tonnes (up 9% on 2015), maintaining the upward trend of the previous three years.
India rose to third place with a 4.7% share of total exports and 13.4% growth with respect to 2015 (135,000 tonnes), overtaking Turkey which now ranks fourth with a total of 127,000 tonnes, 5.3% up on 2015.
As mentioned, four European countries ranked amongst the top 10 world exporters: Portugal, Poland, Germany and Bulgaria, in that order. Germany achieved particularly impressive results with the highest percentage growth of all exporter countries in 2016 (+20.4%).