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The Belgian furniture industry has reported an increase in turnover for the first half of 2016, although heeds warning over Brexit impact.

Fedustria, the Belgian federation of the textile, wood and furniture industries, has measured the economic situation of the Belgian furniture sector, indicting a sales growth of €1,261.7m in the first half of 2016, a rise of 3.2 % compared with the first half of 2015.

The figures suggest that 2016 has begun better than its prior year, however concerns have been raised over the impact of Brexit moving into the second half of the year, which has caused a ‘certain unease in the industry’ with financial markets, consumer confidence and furniture order levels in the red.

Statistics highlighted that 2015 was a good year for Belgian furniture exports, which rose by 5.5% globally – largely due to the EU, Middle East and North America. For the first six months of 2016, the figure has maintained growth at 1.8%, with EU exports up by 3.7%, driven by French, Dutch and German markets, up by 1.5%, 3.4% and 3.7% respectively.

Imports registered a slight increase of 0.9 % in the first six months, with imports from EU countries up by a total of 2.4 %.

In terms of investment, the Belgian furniture industry has pumped in €44.7m, 8.1% more than last year, although it has seen a slight decline in its production capacity utilisation rate over the last two quarters due to a reduction in the rate of furniture orders – down by 2.1% in the first eight months of 2016.

Filip De Jaeger, deputy general manager responsible for the furniture sector at Fedustria, said: “There may well be considerable changes in the exports to the United Kingdom as a result of the Brexit. This is likely to depend heavily on the product.

“There is already a direct impact due to the strong decline in the value of the British pound, which in turn puts pressure on the margins and/or volumes of those exporting. This should already start to show in the figures for the 2nd half of 2016.”