In the News – EU extends duties on Chinese tile imports to 2022

In the News – EU extends duties on Chinese tile imports to 2022

The European Commission has extended duties on Chinese ceramic tile imports for a further 5 years to November 2022, maintaining the levels that had been in force since 2011 (between 30.6% and 69.7% depending on the behaviour of the Chinese exporters during the preliminary investigation).

The investigation lasted more than a year and confirmed the evidence put forward by the European ceramic industry represented by the European Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Federation CET. In particular this includes the continued practice of dumping by Chinese exporters as well as the level of China’s overcapacity, equivalent to four times the EU’s entire tile output.

Confindustria Ceramica welcomed the extension of the measure. “This is a vital measure for the Italian and European ceramic industries because it ensures a level playing field in terms of trade amongst all companies operating in the EU market,” said Chairman Vittorio Borelli. “The extension of duties will create a stable reference framework for the Italian ceramic industry at a time when it is making major investments in new plants and technologies, giving it greater confidence to tackle the growing competitive challenges in international markets.”

Chinese ceramic tile imports to Europe have fallen by 77% since antidumping duties were introduced in 2011, dropping from more than 66 million sq.m to around 16 million sq.m.

Get the full article here Ceramic World Web


In the News – Florim’s new Industry 4.0 facility for the production of ceramic panels came into operation in October

In the News – Florim’s new Industry 4.0 facility for the production of ceramic panels came into operation in October

The new Industry 4.0 factory built by the Florim Group in Mordano (Bologna) began production in October this year. Designed exclusively for the production of large-size ceramic panels (up to 160×320 cm in the three thicknesses 6/12/20 mm for a wide range of uses), the factory has a floor space of 56,000 sq.m and establishes itself as a new benchmark as part of an Industry 4.0 vision for the world ceramic industry. Cutting-edge technology and computer-integrated machines are housed in a clean, modern, attractive and comfortable space with plenty of natural light thanks to a window of height 5 metres and length 130 metres.

The work began in April 2017 with the installation of 800 seismic piles and was completed in just 6 months. The 170-metre length kiln began producing the first ceramic panels ready for storage in October. A website and a video are devoted to the construction of the plant and to the line in operation.

This latest €70 million project marks the latest step in the Florim Group’s ambitious investment programme. In the last 6 years the Fiorano-based ceramic group has invested a total of 300 million euros, while a further allocation of around 70 million euros is planned for 2018. A large construction site has been started up at the headquarters in Fiorano Modenese to build another Industry 4.0 benchmark facility. The future 48,000 sq.m building connected to the Mordano facility has been designed for processing and logistics of large-size panels.

Read more at Ceramic World Web

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The new exhibit at the National @BuildingMuseum explores design solutions for evolving 21st-century households. Small spaces transform to accommodate families in various and fluid stages of living together. The designs incorporate ceramic tile not only in the kitchen and bathrooms, but seamlessly into the living areas as well. Beauty + Versatility. That’s #WhyTile.
[link to exhibit page on]


In the News – Rebuilding from 2017’s Natural Disasters: When, For What, and How Much?

In the News – Rebuilding from 2017’s Natural Disasters: When, For What, and How Much?

The bulk of repairs to homes damaged by this year’s record-setting disasters will not be done until 2019 or 2020, according to our analysis of post-disaster spending between 1994 and 2015. The analysis, which looked at the estimated annual cost of natural disasters alongside annual estimates of disaster-related home repairs and improvements, suggests that an increase of $10 billion in total disaster losses any time in the previous three years is associated with about $300 million in additional annual spending on disaster-related home repairs and improvements.

The finding is significant because 2017 was an unusually destructive year. While inflation-adjusted, disaster-related damages averaged about $40 billion a year between 1994 and 2015, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria together caused about $150 billion in damages, according to estimates from CoreLogic and Moody’s Analytics (Figure 1). Moreover, damages from 2017’s winter storms, droughts, and wildfires will push these numbers even higher. In fact, the total cost of 2017’s disasters could exceed damages from any year in the last two decades, including 2005, the previous record year, when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (and a host of smaller but significant disasters) combined to cause more than $200 billion in damages (in inflation-adjusted dollars).

As in other years that were marked by particularly destructive storms and other disasters, this year’s damages should lead to a spurt in construction activity. Some of it will be construction of and renovations to infrastructure and commercial buildings. Some will be the construction of new single-family homes and multifamily housing units. And some will be disaster-related repairs and improvements to both owner-occupied and rental housing.

To estimate how much will be spent on post-disaster home repairs, and when that spending is likely to occur, we combined information on disaster-related damages reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with data on disaster-related home repairs and improvements for the same years found in the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey (AHS). The AHS, as a survey of households, only asks owners to report spending on their homes. The comparison suggests that renovation spending continues to increase for about two to three years after the natural disaster occurs, and that an increase of $10 billion in disaster losses any time over the prior three years generates about $300 million in additional disaster-related home improvement spending during the year studied. If this pattern holds, the bulk of the spending from 2017 losses won’t occur until 2019 or 2020. But when it occurs, there is likely to be a substantial increase in spending on home renovations in those years.

While the delay between disaster losses and repair expenditures may seem unusually lengthy, it is consistent with a study funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that examined the rebuilding that took place following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In a recent Joint Center blog on that study’s implications, our colleague Jonathan Spader (who worked on the initial HUD study) reported that only 70 percent of hurricane-damaged properties in Louisiana and Mississippi had been rebuilt by early 2010, five years after the storms. The study further found that 74 percent of owner-occupied homes had been rebuilt, compared to only 60 percent of the rental properties.

The delays are due to many factors. Insurance companies need to assess the extent of the damage and determine how much is covered. Home improvement contractors, stretched to the limit and suffering from a labor squeeze, must delay certain projects. Owners have to consider local housing and labor market conditions to determine if repairs or improvements make financial sense. Often, federal, state, and local government entities may slow down rebuilding while they decide whether it’s feasible and, if so, whether building codes and insurance guidelines should be more stringent.

Nevertheless, spending will occur and, when it does, it can be substantial. Illustratively, in 2015 (which came after a few relatively mild years for disasters) spending on disaster-related home renovations accounted for almost $11 billion of the $220 billion spent nationally improving owner-occupied homes according to the 2015 AHS. (Lightning and fires accounted for $2.4 billion of this spending, floods for $2.0 billion, and tornados and hurricanes for $1.6 billion. Winter storms, thunderstorms, earthquakes, and drought accounted for the remainder.)

In short, 2017’s hurricanes and other disasters are likely to result in substantial spending on rebuilding, repairs, and improvements to disaster-damaged homes. Moreover, while that spending will ramp up slowly, it is likely to stretch into next decade.

Learn more at Housing Perspectives

In the News – New Home Sales Hit Highest Level in a Decade

In the News – New Home Sales Hit Highest Level in a Decade

Washington, DC, November 27, 2017- New home sales rose 6.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 685,000 in October, according to the Commerce Department.

This is the highest level since October 2007 and followed September’s slightly downwardly revised sales pace of 645,000 units.

New home sales have now increased for three straight months.

In the News – U.S. Consumer Sentiment Index Upwardly Revised More Than Expected

In the News – U.S. Consumer Sentiment Index Upwardly Revised More Than Expected

Consumer sentiment in the U.S. pulled back by less than initially estimated in the month of November, according to a report released by the University of Michigan on Wednesday.

The report said the consumer sentiment index for November was upwardly revised to 98.5 from the preliminary estimate of 97.8. Economists had expected the index to be upwardly revised to 98.0.

While the consumer sentiment index was upwardly revised by more than expected, it remains below the thirteen-year high of 100.7 seen in October.

He added, “In contrast to the media buzz about approaching cyclical peaks and an aging expansion, with the implication of greater uncertainty about future economic trends, consumers have voiced greater certainty about their expectations for income, employment, and inflation.”

The report said current economic conditions index fell to 113.5 in November from 116.5 in October, and the index of consumer expectations dipped to 88.9 from 90.5.

On the inflation front, one-year inflation expectations inched up to 2.5 percent in November from 2.4 percent in October, while five-year inflation expectations edged down to 2.4 percent from 2.5 percent.

Read the full article here Nasdaq