Sun, 10 Feb 2008
JAKARTA (JP): Local furniture firms are seeking new overseas markets to address declining demand in the face of a possible economic meltdown in the United States, the country's largest buyer of wooden furniture.

The gloomy economic forecast could trim furniture exports to the world's largest economy by at least 5 percent, Ambar Tjahyono, chairman of the Association of Indonesian Furniture and Handicraft Manufacturers (Asmindo), said recently.

"For the U.S market, we can only rely on products for the upper class because they still have strong purchasing power. As for the remaining classes, we cannot expect much," Ambar said.

"To make up for the decline in U.S. demand, we are preparing to penetrate other potential markets to maintain our export growth."

U.S. consumers are currently facing a decline in their purchasing power, as indicated by the mortgage crisis where most borrowers can no longer afford to pay their obligations.

On average, the United States imports around 30 percent of the Indonesia's total furniture output annually, according to the National Agency for Export Development (Nafed).

The agency said with a market share of 4.26 percent, Indonesia ranked fourth after Germany, with 5.19 percent, as the top supplier of wooden furniture to the United States. (ind/****)



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