European Union Enlargement. The impact on the furniture industry
This report evaluates the impact of the European Union enlargement on the furniture sector, considering the ten countries that have become actual members of the European Union on May 2004 (Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary) and the three countries that are candidates for enlargement after 2007 (Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey). A short overview of the status of the furniture sector from 1997 to the present is provided for each country through the analysis of the main economic indicators: production, consumption, imports and exports. The study of the historical trend is supplemented by the evaluation of some indicators of the size of the domestic demand (number of marriages and number of new buildings) and the identification of the main trade compartments and commercial partners. The specific study covering the trend of the furniture industry in the past years is followed by an analysis of the business climate of each country: the purpose is to select the main threats and opportunities of each context, together with the strengths and weaknesses of individual economies, since these are important factors (in a positive and negative way) for those people who intend to invest in the new enlargement countries, who want to delocalize a part of their production in those countries, who want to open new markets or for anybody who needs business intelligence. The last paragraph of each chapter is dedicated to the key issue of the present report: the formulation of forecasts on production, consumption, exports and imports. We decided to tackle the forecast aspect at the end of each chapter, so that the reader may have a preliminary knowledge of the furniture sector in the examined country. This is, however, the key message of our analysis. In order to try to give as accurate forecasts as possible, an econometric approach was used, which, through the construction of suitable models, makes the study possible of the trend of the main economic indicators in the near future. A forecast is given for each indicator: it is both an average forecast for 2004-2007 and a real one, which considers the inflation rate. This structure has only one exception, that is Turkey, for which an average forecast is provided, but it is nominal instead of real: this decision is explained by an increase in prices, which still remain very high and make it difficult to forecast the inflation trend in the short-medium term. For those countries where it was possible, also a diagram is shown of the forecasts of the main variables correlated to the furniture industry trend (essentially, investments in new buildings, consumer prices, exports and imports of goods, available personal income and private consumption).
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