Market News Italian machine tool industry envisages recovery in 2021

Editor: Steffen Donath

The trend of the year 2021 should be completely different compared to 2020 and, even if the ground lost over the last twelve months cannot be fully recovered, the forecasts are really positive.

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After 2020, the Italian machine tool industry is set to recover in 2021.
After 2020, the Italian machine tool industry is set to recover in 2021.
(Source: Taylor Deas-Melesh (Unsplash))

As highlighted by the preliminary year’s data processed by the Studies Dept. & Business Culture of Ucimu-Sistemi Per Produrre, in 2020, production dropped to 4,970 million euro, showing a 23.7 % fall compared with the previous year.

The outcome was due to the reduction in the deliveries by Italian manufacturers on the domestic market, decreased by 28.2 % to 2,090 million euro, as well as to the negative trend of exports, fallen by 20 % to 2,880 million euro.

Based on the ISTAT data processing by Ucimu, in the first nine months of the year (latest available survey), the export downturn of machine tools only was strong and generalised. The sales to the United States, first destination market for the Made in Italy products of the sector, went down to 229 million euro (-21.4 %). The other main destination countries were Germany, 185 million euro (-31.2 %); China, 162 million euro (-28.2 %); France, 115 million euro (-34.3 %) and Poland 92 million euro (-30.8 %).

The health emergency had an even stronger impact on the domestic market. In 2020, machine tool, robot and automation consumption in Italy fell by 30.3 % to 3,385 million euro, penalising both the deliveries of Italian manufacturers and imports, decreased by 33.4 % to 1,295 million euro.

The significant reduction of domestic machine tool consumption determined an increase in the export/production ratio, changing from 55.3 % in 2019 to 57.9 % in 2020.

The trend for 2021

According to the forecasts developed by the Studies Dept. & Business Culture of Ucimu, production should grow to 5,795 million euro (+16.6 % versus 2020), driven by the recovery of exports, which should amount to 3,220 million euro (+11.8 %), and by the increase in the deliveries of Italian manufacturers on the domestic market, which should go up to 2,575 million euro (+23.2 %).

Consumption should regain its dynamism, registering a 23.3 % upturn and reaching 4,175 million euro. Imports will also start to grow, attaining 1,600 million euro, corresponding to 23.6 % more than in the previous year. The export/production ratio will return to 55.6 % due to the balancing of Italian manufacturers’ activity between domestic and foreign markets.

Active recovery

Barbara Colombo, president of Ucimu-Sistemi Per Produrre, commented: “What happened in 2020 has deeply affected the expectations of the Italian industry of the sector, which experienced a particularly difficult situation last spring and, starting from July, reported some feeble, positive signs of market recovery, also confirmed in the autumn months,

“We are certainly far away from coming back to the pre-emergency activity level, but the forecasts for 2021 are positive and raise hopes for the near future. The availability and gradual dissemination of vaccines will significantly contribute to the activity recovery also abroad, while facilitating a return to a normal mobility of people, necessary for the business of our enterprises that have always been engaged in foreign markets.

“The movement impossibility of goods and people, as well as the almost total absence of trade fairs, have severely tested our work. However — added Barbara Colombo — 2021 will be the year of Emo Milano 2021, which will take place in Italy again after six years and after the success of the 2015 edition. It will be hosted at fieramilano from 4 - 9 October and will actually be the first international exhibition after one year and a half. Also for this reason, we believe that Emo Milano, which has always acted as a multiplier of machine tool demand, will have an even more boosting effect on the investments in production systems and technologies 4.0.”

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