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Italy sees first-quarter downturn in machine tool orders

Posted on 22 May 2024. Edited by: John Hunter. Read 516 times.
Italy sees first-quarter downturn in machine tool ordersIn the first quarter of 2024, the index of machine tool orders from Ucimu-Sistemi per Produrre — the Italian machine tool manufacturers’ association — showed an 18.9% downturn over the period January-March 2023 and an absolute index value of 77.9 (base year 2021 = 100). The association said the negative outcome was due to the reduction in orders received by Italian manufacturers in both the domestic and international markets. In particular, overseas orders were down by 18.5%, compared to Q1 2023, with an absolute index value of 91. Domestic orders saw a drop of 19.4% for an absolute value of 55.1.

Barbara Colombo, Ucimu’s president (pictured), said: “The year has started on a negative for Italian machine tool manufacturers; and although this is a confirmation of what we were expecting, we must now overcome the impasse and give the market a clear sign of reassurance and stability — a fundamental condition for those needing to invest in ‘state of the art’ machines.

“On the foreign front, and after a positive 2023, the order intake abroad in this first part of the year shows a rather cautious start, weighed down by the risk of tensions expanding beyond the Israeli-Palestinian area and the prolonged conflict between Russia and Ukraine; the uncertainties regarding the energy transition and the direction that Europe will take after the June elections are also weighing heavily.

“With regard to exports, our expectations for the current year are positive. We expect a moderate pace for our business in the USA, increased sales to some European countries and to countries that are starting to rise in the ranking of destination areas for Made in Italy — such as Turkey, Mexico and India. Ucimu has also initiated steps to create a new network of companies in Mexico, which is experiencing intense manufacturing development, closely linked to the US economy.”

She concluded: “However, there are different concerns for the domestic market, where demand has been on stand-by for too many months, while waiting for the new competitiveness measures to become operational. Our machinery manufacturers continue to receive requests for quotations, even for important projects, but these remain on hold because there is no certainty about the incentives that will be made available by the Italian government.”