Manufacturing demand remains solid, with good prospects for expansion, according to the midyear report issued by UCIMU-Sistemi per Produrre, the Italian association of machine tool and automation designers and manufacturers. At its recent annual meeting the group reported that the positive trends for regional and global demand that have buoyed its members’ efforts since 2014 will continue throughout 2017, driving both domestic deliveries and exports.
The European machine tool sector, which includes numerous developers of machine in Italy, as well as Germany, Switzerland, France, in addition to the related cutting tools, programming technologies, and automation, was slower to recover from the Great Recession than the comparable industrial sectors in Asia and North America. However, with the recovery of the region’s industrial activity the machine tool builders have solidified their performance.
In Italy, the world’s fifth-largest machine-tool manufacturing industry, 2016 machine-tool production increased 6.4% over 2015, to €5.55 billion (est. $6.46 billion.) This result was due to positive trends in Ucimu members’ domestic market deliveries, which rose 25.7% year/year to €2.3 billion ($2.7 billion.) Domestic buyers’ activity resulted in double-digit consumption increases for the third consecutive year, their consumption of machine-tool products by a double digit increase for the third consecutive year, reaching €3,859 million euro, i.e. 15.3% more versus 2015.
By contrast, Italian machine-tool exports decline by 4% year/year to €3.25 billion ($3.78 billion.) The value of exports reverted to 2014 levels, Ucimu noted.
Major export markets for Italian machine tool builders during 2016 included Germany, U.S., China, France, Poland, Spain, Mexico, and Turkey.
For the most recent quarter (2Q 2017), Ucimu reported members’ new orders represented a 17.2% increase over 2Q 2016, due increases in both domestic (+28.5%) and foreign (+13.8%) new orders.
For its 2017 outlook, Ucimu forecast that domestic manufacturing activity will increase 6.7% to €5.925 billion ($6.9 billion), with machine-tool consumption increasing 10.1% to €4.25 billion ($4.95 billion), both driving its members’ domestic deliveries 12% higher to €2.575 billion ($2.99 billion), and exports (+7.5%) to €3.35 billion ($3.89 billion.)
“In a situation of general regression regarding the world industry of the sector, Italy proved to have the means and the strength to grow and to grow again, compared to what it already did in the previous two-year period,” according to Ucimu president Massimo Carboniero.