February 14, 2020 / 3:10 PM / in 10 days

Turkish ceramic producer sees orders shifting from coronavirus-hit China

ISTANBUL, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Turkish ceramic exports could rise by nearly a third this year, one of Turkey’s largest ceramic firms said on Friday, as producers in China struggle with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on top of U.S. tariffs.

An outbreak of the newly identified coronavirus that emerged in December in Wuhan, China has killed at least 1,380 people, prompting many factories to suspend operations as authorities try to contain its spread.

“Turkey’s ceramics producers will increase exports by some 30% this year as demand will shift towards here from China,” NG Kutahya Seramik chairman Erkan Gural told a news conference. “This will increase capacity usage in the sector.”

The company is considering investing 350-400 million lira (about $60 million) in a new factory due to the spike in demand and will finalise details in the coming weeks, he said.

“Ceramic sector fairs organised in the United States and Spain in the recent weeks show that product demand is shifting towards Europe and Turkey after the coronavirus outbreak in China.”

There was already a shift to Turkish ceramics as the United States imposed additional tariffs on Chinese products in the fourth quarter, Gural said, but demand has appeared to accelerated.

Turkey, the world’s seventh-largest ceramics producer, exports around $1 billion in products annually, according to information provided by Gural.

NG Kutahya Seramik, which operates seven factories, plans to increase revenue to over 1 billion lira this year from 800 million lira in 2019. ($1 = 6.0463 liras) (Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun Editing by Dominic Evans)

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