In the wake of the pandemic and having to manage new crises in energy, transport and supply chain, Greek companies in the marble sector are looking to pick up pace in a difficult global environment.
The positive performance of 2021, compared to 2020, was not able to compensate for the heavy losses of the lockdowns, which to some extent continue in the Chinese market and already several companies, which do not have healthy cash flows, are on the brink, since operating cost pressures continued as they did in the first quarter of this year,.
At the same time, the open fronts in the internal market (shortening of licensing, forestry issues, pending land uses, employee certification, branding, etc.) further burden companies.
Ms. Ioulia Haida, president of the Marble Business Association of Macedonia – Thrace, characterized 2021, as a satisfactory year since the Greek marble industry recorded a 25% increase in exports compared to 2020, reaching 361 million euros from 289 million euros.
However, economic results do not follow the same trend, because increases in energy and product transportation have had a significant adverse effect.
Chinese marble imports grind down
The biggest blow came from the Chinese market, which absorbs most of the raw marble exports not only of Greece, but also of its competitors, namely Italy and Turkey.
Although the export performance of all three countries was declining, Italy maintained exports at better levels than Greece and Turkey. The strategy of limiting exports of raw marble to China adopted by Italian companies over the last five years seems to be paying off.
It is characteristic that in the period 2017-2021 Greek marble exports to China recorded a drop in value of 23.28%, in quantity of 25.94%, while price per ton increased by 3.6%.
Over the same period, Italy’s exports fell by just 0.4% in value, 16.25% in quantity, while the average price per ton increased by 18.92%.
As for Turkey’s exports the decline is much higher than Greece and Italy with -38.31% in value, -35.85% in quantity and -3.84% in average price per ton.
In 4th place
It should be noted that Greek marble is exported to 120 countries and has been used in iconic projects all over the world, with our country being in 4th place in the world ranking.
The total contribution of the sector to the Greek economy is valued at 1.27 billion euros, providing direct employment to 6,130 workers and indirect employment to 17,796 more. Besides, for every one euro of marble product, the multiplier benefit for the Greek economy is 2.19 euros, Ms. Haida pointed out.