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Rounding up 2008

Post Time:Jan 01,2009Classify:Industry NewsView:121

As we say farewell to 2008 and greet 2009, Glass Magazine editors take a look back at the events that impacted the glass industry the mostlast year.

The economy, clearly, influenced all industry segments in 2008. Wall Street rang out its worst year since the Great Depression on Dec. 31, 2008, leaving shareholders $6.9 trillion poorer, according to an article in The Washington Post. The S&P 500's stock index took a double-digit hit in every sector, and the Dow set new records for its three largest single-day point gains and two steepest point losses after swinging hundreds of points an hour during some sessions.

Taken together, all of the world's stocks lost 48 percent last year, according to the article.

Unemployment remained historically high, and rates for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage fell to 5.1 percent, the lowest since Freddie Mac began tracking that data in 1971. The housing market remains weak and home values have plummeted, according to The Post article.

The sinking economy took a huge tollon theBig Three automakers, who came hats in hand to Washington, D.C, toask for federal handouts.

The credit crunch and a hike in the raw material prices for glass alsodid a number on the industry last year. Scroll down to read about plant shutdowns, layoffs, consolidationsand restructurings resulting from the economic upheaval.

Weakening residential and automotive markets resulted in a float glass demand decline for three straight years through 2008, based on the declining end-use markets.This is expected to continue into 2009.

Other factors that influenced the glass industry: Building Information Modeling and green technology, especially in terms ofopportunities for glass industries in the solar energy field. glasstec 2008 featured a solar theme, while Ecobuild 2008 revolved around BIM. Several glass companies, including Arch Aluminum & Glass Co., Salem Distributing Co. and Glaston, opened solar units.

Read about the publisher's opinion of last year's top 10 jolts in the glass industry.

Looking forward to 2009 with trepidation and hope, economists and industry members anticipate a difficult year for the commercial, retail and automotive glass segments.

Below are the most-clicked headlines from last year:

CommercialNickel sulfide in library façade causes legal issues Investigators look into broken windows at New York Times building AGC: Credit freeze, economic slump chill construction ASTM to develop skylight standard to prevent falls and fatalities Aluminum prices to increase more than 30 percentFabricationCompany to honor plane crash victimsCardinal Glass cited for safety violationsMIT turning windows into solar panelsAGC to restructureProgress in vacuum glazing research continues with Guardian’s product

RetailPPG declares force majeure on glass productsC.R. Laurence continues acquisition strategy with Sommer & Maca purchase House passes economic recovery packageCredit turmoil halts some projectsGlass prices, fuel surcharges on the rise

AutoBelron US to acquire assets of Diamond GlassPPG completes sales of automotive glass businessROLAGS votes to limit crack repair to 6 inchesEU levels hefty fine on car glass makersBelron to buy Cindy Rowe

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