UCIMU Italian Machine Tool Orders Down in 4Q 2011, Up for Year

Author / Editor: Eric Culp / Jürgen Schreier

In the fourth quarter of 2011, the index of Italian machine tool orders worked out by the Studies Department of UCIMU-Sistemi per Produrre from industry survey results fell 12.4% relative to the same period in 2010, and registered an absolute value of 95.1. This figure is, however, among the highest recorded in the past three years.

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Despite the end-of-year slowdown, the 2011 average index of orders for the Italian manufacturers increased 12.8% from 2010, to an absolute value of 93. This was in fact the highest value in three years.

This result of the most recent UCIMU survey—a fall following seven consecutive quarters of increases—is attributable to the fact that the baseline quarter was a particularly positive period. The absolute index for the 2010 fourth quarter was 108.6.

Interestingly, a more exhaustive analysis of the data reveals an increasingly greater discrepancy between domestic-market and foreign-market data. On an annual basis, the index of the orders collected by Italian machine tool manufacturers domestically in 2011 fell 11.9% to 55.2, whereas the index of foreign orders increased 20.9% from 2010, for an absolute value of 116.3.

Also, according to the last survey carried out by the UCIMU Studies Department from ISTAT data covering January through October 2011, the main export markets for Italian machine tools showed increases over the same period in 2010. The largest outlets, with their percentage increase, were China (11.5%), Germany (55.9%), the United States (104%), Brazil (60.2%), France (20.1%), India (13.5%), Russia (16.3%), Turkey (59.2%), Poland (42.3%) and Spain (16.3%).

“In the light of this data,” says Giancarlo Losma, president of UCIMU-Sistemi per Produrre, “there are two considerations clearly emerging: First, we do not believe that the slowdown recorded in this last quarter anticipates a new period of difficulty. Currently, there are no elements demonstrating an inversion in trend and therefore the start of a new negative cycle for the Italian machine tools, robots and automation industry. On the contrary, a fact that shows the level of efficiency that characterizes the industries of our sector is this: the index of production capacity in the fourth quarter of 2011 reached 80%.”

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UCIMU-Sistemi per Produrre

Cinisello Balsamo (MI), Italy