In the third quarter 2023 (Q3), the index of machine tool orders compiled by the Economic Studies Department and Business Culture Centre of Ucimu-Sistemi per Produrre
— the Italian machine tool manufacturers’ association — highlighted a 19.9% drop compared to the period July-September 2022. The absolute value of the index was 63.7 (base year 2015 = 100), reflecting falls in both the domestic and export markets.
In particular, export orders recorded a 1.7% decrease compared to Q3 2022, for an absolute value of the index of 96.2. On the domestic front, orders fell by 45.1% to an absolute value of 24.
Barbara Colombo, Ucimu’s president, said: “The data confirms the negative trend that we have been seeing since the beginning of the year, a trend resulting from several factors. Regarding the domestic market, the decline in new orders is not unexpected and corresponds to a general downturn in demand after the boom of the last few years.
“That said, the digital transition process that the Italian manufacturing industry is currently undergoing still needs to be completed, particularly in light of the new European directives on sustainability and ‘green’ manufacturing; and while the transformation of our industry is there for all to see, it is not evenly distributed among large, medium and small-size industries — and is certainly not completed. As this transition represents one of the main factors of competitiveness for Italy’s economic system, which has the manufacturing industry as its cornerstone, it is necessary to support it through appropriate measures.
“We are aware that there are limited economic resources and an extremely difficult context, but now — more than ever — policies for development are needed. We therefore welcome the decision to include, in the draft for the 2024 Budget Package, the re-financing of the Sabatini Law and the incentives for enterprises that return to produce in Italy, as well as tax cuts for citizens and companies.
“On the export front, order intake was essentially stationary, unlike that of orders collected on the domestic market, where the incentives available over the years have brought about strong demand fluctuations. In particular, Italian manufacturers have always had the United States as a strong market, one that currently leads the export league. Indeed, the dynamism of North American demand, which we expect to remain as it is in the coming months, has substantially counterbalanced the weakness of the Asian and European markets.”