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Prague, Czech Republic : Czech furniture production rose by Kc3bn yearon- year to Kc40bn in 2014, with exports reaching a record Kc21.5bn, according to data released by the Association of Czech Furniture Manufacturers (ACN), company Apicon and the Czech Statistical Office (CSU).

The furniture output for 2015 is estimated to increase to Kc41.5bn reported CTK Business News. The growth trend should continue in 2015 after last year’s sharp rise thanks to investment in the furniture industry and the weak crown currency which helps exporters, ACN secretary Tomas Lukes said.

Export performance of Czech furniture makers has been increasing in recent years. Last year almost 20 percent of furniture produced in the Czech Republic was exported. In 2009, for example, for only 6.3 percent of furniture production headed for export market. Czech furniture is most often exported to Germany, Slovakia and France. Exports include mainly furniture parts, and metal and medical furniture.

This year’s growth in exports will be driven by production at company Steelcase, for example, according to Lukes. Steelcase, the world’s biggest producer of office furniture, opened a new plant in Ostrov, west Bohemia, in January this year. It invested about Kc600m in the plant. The growth of the value of furniture exports was also caused by the weakening of the crown.

However, the good result of Czech furniture exports are accompanied by only a weak increase of furniture sales in the Czech Republic. “Considering the fact that the volume of imported furniture continues to rise and that the share of imports on domestic consumption is increasing, it is obvious that the positive development of production is driven by Czech furniture producers’ successful exports,” Lukes said. The most frequently imported products are seats and seating furniture, which are the most commonly traded furniture commodity in Europe, Robert Babuka of company Apicon said.

The biggest importers of furniture to the Czech Republic are large furniture chains. The highest volume of furniture is imported to the country from Poland (26 percent) and China (18 percent). The share of imports on the total furniture sales in the Czech Republic was 42 percent last year.