UCIMU Italian machine tool orders surge in Q1 on demand for foreign equipment
Orders for Italian machine tools jumped 10.5% in the first quarter compared to the year-earlier period, according to the Italian machine tools, robots and automation manufacturers’ association UCIMU-Sistemi Per Produrre.
The rise was a continuation of a positive trend and signalled the eighth consecutive quarter of growth, the association said, but purchasing of locally made equipment did little for this growth spurt. “When assessing the data, it is … necessary to consider that the result was determined, once again, only by foreign demand.”
Foreign orders rose 12% in the quarter versus Q1 2011, but domestic orders were virtually flat with a growth rate of 0.1%. The reading “shows all the weakness of the home market, where demand remains stagnant,” the association noted.
Association President Giancarlo Losma said, “The continuation of this condition of an investment freeze in production technology forces us all to a careful assessment of the risk of loss of competitiveness of the country’s industrial network at all levels within the production chain. The failure to update production plants directly impacts on the manufacturing processes, and therefore on the products ‘made in Italy’ themselves. The danger that our industrial system may be left behind is even stronger when we consider that the competitors, many of which have recently appeared on the international scene, are continuing to invest in advanced, efficient, eco-compatible machinery capable of meeting safety and energy saving requirement, reducing more and more the historic gap with the Italian industry".
Association General Director Alfredo Mariotti pointed to positive developments. “Machine tool companies, including foreign ones, still believe in the Italian market and know the unexpressed potential of the demand. This is demonstrated by the figures for the attendance to BI-MU, the bi-annual exhibition of the sector, which will take place next October in Milan. To date, the figures show a 26% increase in purchases of exhibition space when compared with … same period in 2010 (the previous edition). The hope is that the positive trend will continue in the next few months, and that it will be confirmed in the final event results of the event."