Vicenza Fair sees tough climate for Italian jewellery exports
By Amanda Grateley
Fiera di Vicenza
TJF Group Co-Founder Paola De Luca and Vicenza Fair President Roberto Ditri
VICENZA, Italy, January 16, 2010 - The Vicenza Fair, Italy's leading jewellery trade show, said Italian gold jewellery exports were hard hit by the economic crisis, down around 20 percent in value terms in 2009, and noted an uncertain outlook for 2010 amidst a jittery 'mini recovery' in world markets.
According to the latest data provided to VicenzaOro First, the first of three annual trade fairs held at Vicenza in northeast Italy, Italian gold jewellery sales to the three leading export markets of the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland and the United States in the first nine months of 2009, fell by 15.3 percent, 27.8 percent and 30.2 percent year-on-year respectively.
The fair gave no absolute figures for export sales.
It said in a statement that the value of Italian gold jewellery exports in 2009 was estimated to have fallen by around 20 percent compared with 2008.
Fiera di Vicenza
Demand for gold jewellery has dropped around the world, with the sole exception of China, due to the combined impact of the global economic downturn and the soaring and volatile gold price.
Italy, one of the world's leading exporters of gold and silver jewellery, is facing fierce competition because of its high labour costs relative to those of emerging economies, such as Thailand and Turkey, and the fragmented nature of its industry, jewellers say.
Despite signs of global economic recovery, prospects for the Italian gold jewellery export sector were unclear.
"2010 opens with uncertainty for the world economy," Roberto Ditri, the newly appointed president of the Vicenza Fair, said in a speech at the opening ceremony of VicenzaOro First, which runs until January 21.
"The 'mini recovery' that the markets are revealing is uncertain and its real consistency and duration are today still unknown."
Ditri added, "The only certainty is the tangible recovery in some market areas: China, India and Brazil have got off again to a decisive start. But it is not automatic that they will trigger an equally strong recovery in other economies." The president said, "In this context, the jewellery sector must react and it must be supported to do so."
Innovative marketing efforts, consolidation between manufacturers, and a strong push to break into growth markets, such as China, were needed to bolster the Italian export sector, jewellers said.
Underscoring the increasing consolidation, Italian jeweller Rosato has taken over another privately held jewellery maker, Calgaro, Rosato said on January 15.