Italy, investments in building at a standstill

Italy, investments in building at a standstillBologna, 18 October 2002 - Investments in building in 2002 are estimated to have increased by 2.3% over 2001. Although positive, this figure nonetheless reveals a major slowdown for the sector, which last year reached a value of 100,946 million euro, equivalent to 8.3% of GDP. In 2003, investments in building are not expected to change significantly and will remain stable at the current year's levels. These forecasts were unveiled by Ance, the Italian building contractors' association, at the opening of Saie 2002, the International Building Technology Exhibition currently being held in Bologna.
The estimates for 2002 provided by the building contractors' association are higher than those formulated recently by the government in its Relazione previsionale e programmatica (Forecasting and programmatic report), which projects 0.4% growth. In spite of the slowdown in growth, the sector confirms its driving role within the national economy as a whole. However, Ance warns that this anticyclical function risks being jeopardised in the next few years. In 2003 the forecasts in real terms are for +0.6%. "The estimate," the association explains, "is a consequence of the elimination of two major tools supporting building activities which to date have given important results: concessions for remodelling work (the so-called "36%") and the "Tremonti bis" law.

The "in-depth" section looks at the figures for each individual segment
Residential building and remodellingResidential building and remodelling

In 2002 all segments with the exception of remodelling have shown smaller growth than in 2001. For residential building, the Ance estimates point to a 2.5% increase in quantities (compared to 3% in 2001) due to the increase in new residential building (2%) and remodelling work (3%). The growth in new house building derives exclusively from private initiatives.
Activity in the public residential building sector remains stationary and in North-Eastern Italy shows signs of a downturn. Renovation of existing housing is the market segment with the best growth rates (2.5% in 2001, 3% in 2002), particularly in the south of Italy.
Non-residential and public worksNon-residential and public works

For non-residential buildings to be used for economic activities, Ance estimates 3% growth in 2002, largely due to the concessions granted by the "Tremonti bis" law for the purchase of manufacturing goods.
According to Ance, in order to make these concessions even more effective, adequate application times are required so that a new building initiative can be planned and completed. The public works sector has seen a sharp, continuous fall in growth rate (0.8% in 2002, 2.5% in 2001). The increase in productive levels in Central and Northern Italy is offset by a sharp decline in the South.
Trends in the brick and tile segmentTrends in the brick and tile segment

According to Ance, the brick and tile sector saw a 1.2% increase in 2001, resulting in a total production of 18,086,503 tons (compared with 17,872,735 in 2000). Out of the various products, the best results were those of curtain wall blocks in normal clay (32.13% up on 2000), ceiling blocks for in-situ casting (+18.45%), bases for lintels and strutted beams (+13.24%), ceiling blocks for panels (+6.45%), ceiling tiles (+6.69%) and classic roof tiles (+6.45%). Other products have shown negative results: lightened clay curtain wall blocks (-4.55%), normal clay blocks for loadbearing walls (-3.66%), and sold and semi-solid bricks (-4.51%). Good results were also recorded for facing bricks (production of extruded bricks up by 3.54%), whereas soft clay products (-0.24%) and pressed products (-0.14%) are relatively stable.

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