Ucimu figures Italian machine tools: First quarter orders decline by 23.7 percent

Source: Ucimu Reading Time: 3 min

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In the first quarter of 2023, the index of machine tool orders, elaborated by Centro Studi & Cultura di Impresa di Ucimu-Sistemi per Produrre, recorded a decrease of 23.7 percent compared to the period January-March 2022, with an absolute index of 125.1 (base 100 in 2015). The result is due to a reduction in orders placed by manufacturers in both the foreign and domestic markets.

Italian machine took manufacturers recorded a reduction in orders placed by manufacturers in both the foreign and domestic markets.
Italian machine took manufacturers recorded a reduction in orders placed by manufacturers in both the foreign and domestic markets.
(Source: free licensed / Pixabay)

The orders for Italian machine tools placed abroad fell by 22.9 percent during the first quarter 2023 compared to the same period last year. In the domestic market, orders collected recorded a decrease of 24.1 percent with an absolute value of 124.8. Barbara Colombo President of Ucimu: “The decline in this first half of the year does not worry us, companies are working well and we expect confirmation of this from Lamiera, which will take place from 10 to 13 May at the Rho Fair.”

The Centro Studi survey also shows that the production capacity of Italian machine tool manufacturers was above 86 percent in the first quarter of 2023, but there are also companies that have reached 100 percent. Orders reached an unprecedented level this quarter with 8.6 months of production secured.

“Abroad, also given the near saturation of the production capacity of our companies, which are currently still working off the boom of past order intakes, the decline this quarter may have been determined, at least in part, by the decision of Italian manufacturers to focus mainly on the domestic market, which is certainly easier to monitor”, said Colombo, adding that “We are well aware that such an attitude could become a problem for our companies, which in the long run risk losing market shares acquired over decades of activity. To counteract this phenomenon, Ucimu intends to strengthen initiatives to support the internationalisation of companies at a time when the restructuring and shortening of value chains is beginning. An example of this is the launch of the project of a network of companies in Vietnam, whose aim is to facilitate the penetration of companies in one of the most interesting and dynamic areas in the world.”

According to Ucimu, the decline in domestic orders is determined by several factors: Firstly, by the investments already largely paid in the previous quarter (Q4 2022), foreseen on the part of Italian users who wanted to secure a 40 percent tax rebate, knowing that in the new year the tax rate would be halved. This is evidenced by the flare-up recorded by the Q4 22 index. Secondly, the decline is the result of a natural reduction in demand, which has not kept up with the pace to which it had become accustomed in recent times.

“Apart from that, the Italian market is still willing to invest. The modernisation process of Officina Italia is not yet complete. It still has to reach a part of the companies, especially the small ones, which certainly need more time to deal with such an issue that has an impact on the whole company organisation”, explained Colombo. “For this reason, we must ensure the continuity of Piano Transizione 4.0 by linking the issue of digitalisation with sustainability, which together represent the pillars of the manufacturing production of the future. Therefore, we reiterate to government authorities the need for a modular system of fiscal incentives that can be combined with the increasing complexity of the product system. Specifically, the programme should provide for three different tax credits that can also be cumulated with each other.”

The first measure — the one currently in force, which consists of the tax credit for investment in latest generation digital production technologies (referring to Annexes A and B) — should be joined by a second tax credit for investment in machinery that is integrated into a system that implements both physical and digital value chains, Colombo demands. “Finally, the programme should include a third measure guaranteeing a tax credit for sustainability. This measure should, in our view, support initiatives that lead to the integrated development of new generations of products, also taking into account their impact on the environment, certified according to the relevant international standards.”


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