NewsAnalysis: MIRROR INDUSTRY  
Mirror Industry a Reflection  
of Glass Economy  
upply and demand has put its economics are in place.When demand is  
In mid-2010, the flat glass index saw  
stamp on the United States’mir- greater than supply, it impacts the price a half-decade low of 110.0 but has since  
ror manufacturing industry.  
of the product. Prices for flat glass have risen to nearly 130.9 in May of this year,  
Drew Mayberry, president of Lenoir gone up, and passing that along to our with its most drastic hike happening over  
S
Mirror, says the biggest issue facing the customers has been difficult.”  
the last 12 months.  
The mirror index remained mostly  
domestic sector is the availability of flat  
glass—and its effect on cost.  
According to the Bureau of Labor  
Statistics, most recent Producer Prod- steady in the few years after 2010 but  
“It has created a real challenge for us, uct Index report, flat glass prices have dipped in early 2014 before spiking  
trying to balance the availability with our increased nearly 7 percent from May nearly 17 percent from April 2014 to  
customer demands,”he says.“The laws of 2015 to May 2016.  
April 2016. Prices started this year at  
an index of 180.2—another 2.5 per-  
cent higher than the April figure.  
Mayberry says the economic factors at  
play have forced his company to take a  
hard look at the businesses it’s servicing.  
*
2
00  
75  
“We’ve focused our business on the  
1
customers who have always paid their  
bills and have used products and ser-  
vices we can manage,” he says. “If it’s  
something that’s been difficult to pro-  
cess, we’ve stepped away from it.  
“And that works in reverse, too. The  
amount of glass we’re getting has been  
driven in part with how we’ve been  
able to pay our bills. I have a suspicion  
that other companies buying from float  
producers that haven’t done as good of  
a job paying their bills, probably have a  
tougher time getting glass.”  
The limited domestic supply may  
impact smaller shops more.Businesses  
that service a large amount of mirror  
have the option of importing stock  
sheets of the product, since it comes  
overseas in large container loads.  
Asia has been a major exporter of  
mirror stock sheets over the past two  
decades. Marc Deschamps of Walker  
Glass says this ramped up in the early  
150  
125  
100  
*
2
00  
1
75  
50  
25  
00  
1
1
2
000s and drove his company, which  
1
was very proficient in the mirror busi-  
ness, to develop new products and di-  
versify.The trend of imported mirror  
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics  
*The PPI program measures the average change over time in the selling prices has since maintained its course.  
received by domestic producers for their output.  
The U.S. imported $907.5 million in  
34  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | July 2016  
www.usglassmag.com  
2
015 Imports  
2015 Exports  
6%  
1
9%  
2
0%  
3
6
%
5
3%  
1
1%  
2%  
U.S. Mirror  
Imports and  
Exports  
1
0%  
1
1
2%  
21%  
$
907.5 million  
$1.3 billion  
36% to Germany  
21% to Canada  
12% to Mexico  
11% to Japan  
20% to other  
5
3% from China  
2% from Mexico  
0% from Chinese Taipei  
% from Australia  
9% from other  
glass mirror in 2015, with more than  
2 percent coming from China. The  
country’s imports represent nearly 15  
percent of the world’s imports for the  
product, and it ranks second in that  
category.  
1
5
1
6
1
UN Comtrade statistics suggest the U.S. is still doing well in terms of adding value  
Nancy DeZarn of Dulles Glass and to glass mirror products, with a positive trade balance of $487.1 million.  
Mirror in Dulles,Va.,says her company  
imports large container loads of the an unforeseen surge of a certain prod- quality of the product being imported.  
product from numerous suppliers and uct, but that Dulles Glass hasn’t been  
Mayberry says Lenoir has tried to find  
ways to supplement what it can make  
“We’ve definitely made changes available through some offshore busi-  
has been able to maintain an appropri- significantly affected.  
ate supply of mirror in recent years.  
She says demand has increased in [since the downturn] in how much we ness. “But there’s a limit in how much  
the last few years and that constraints order,” she says, adding that her busi- offshore would work for us,”he says. n  
do happen occasionally depending on ness makes overseas trips to ensure the  
—Nick St. Denis  
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July 2016 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
35