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02/10/2017 - 07:00hs
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Furniture industry eyeing Saudi Arabia

The industry union’s export number until July point to a strong growth of shipments to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Oman. The sector wants to expand trade with the region.



São Paulo – The increase of furniture exports to the Arab countries in the Gulf was the highlight from January to July, according to data released by the Furniture Industry Association of Bento Gonçalves (Sindmóveis). The United Arab Emirates, with an increase of 90% in imports, Saudi Arabia, with 67%, and Oman, with 47%, were some of the markets with a significant performance in the period, due to some actions by the sector.

The main one, according to Sindmóveis international director Leonardo Dartora, was the return of the Brazilian industry to the Index Design Series, an important trade show in Dubai, UAE. “Last year, no Brazilians participated, but we returned this year. And it was a very good expo for us, since it focuses a lot on design, something that helps the Brazilian industry a lot,” he said.

In the Arab market, Brazilian furniture competes mainly with Asian products. It has the advantage of offering, in addition to a lower price, a distinctive design, which is something that Arab consumers are looking for, especially in Saudi Arabia. By the way, the country is among those with the most promising growth potential, according to Dartora.

“It’s a large population with high net worth. I believe that in the next few years Saudi Arabia will even surpass the United Arab Emirates and will become the main Arab destination for furniture from [Bento Gonçalves],” he predicted.

From January to July, shipments to the UAE totaled USD 2.967 million, leaving the country at the 18th position in the ranking of clients of the Brazilian product. Saudi Arabia came in the 40th position with USD 574,000 in shipments, climbing 11 positions in comparison to 2016. Oman appears as the 55th largest market overall – ahead of it, also Arabs, are Algeria (53rd) and Qatar (54th), but both registered a decline in comparison with last year’s first seven months.

For the Rio Grande do Sul state city of Bento Gonçalves, the United Arab Emirates was the 14th main market, with Saudi Arabia at the 16th position in the period. Oman placed at the 35th position. The three countries registered a sharper growth regarding the city’s exports than in Brazil’s overall exports: 75%, 279% and 10.558%, respectively.

Dartora believes that the entire region is trending upward, even more so after the positive participation of the Brazilian industry in the expo. “The doors were opened, contacts were made and the companies are now known. Companies that weren’t eyeing the Middle East before will now surely pay more attention to this market,” he said.

Overall, the Brazilian furniture industry registered 4.4% growth in exports from January to July compared to the same period of last year.

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

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