Italy’s machine tool builders recorded a modest level of growth in the second quarter of 2013, with orders rising 0.7% compared to the second quarter of 2012, according to the index developed by their trade association, UCIMU – Sistemi per Produrre. Even so, the improvement was a welcome development after new orders declined nearly 10% in the first quarter of this year.
UCIMU is the manufacturers’ association for producers of Italian machine tool, robots, automation systems and related product, like NC systems, tooling, machining components and accessories. It has more than two hundred member companies that account for over 70% of Italian products in that industrial sector.
"Although it is undeniable that the Italian market has been definitely reduced, it is equally true that there is a need to invest in machinery,” noted UCIMU president Luigi Galdabini. “What is missing is the liquidity; we should intervene on this.”
The Italian machine tool industry has been struggling for about two years, mainly as a result of weak domestic demand. That trend continued in the second quarter, UCIMU stated, as the index ofdomestic ordersdecreased 21.2% comparedto the second quarter of 2012.
Foreign orders increased 6.2% during the second quarter.
For the first half of 2013, UCIMU’s index recorded a 6% overall decrease in new orders, again reflecting poor domestic demand (-29.6% compared to the first half of 2012), but also weaker (-1%) foreign demand.
Galdabini described these results as a snapshot of “the difficulty currently found among the Italian manufacturers of machine tools in dealing with an almost non-existent domestic demand, in addition to a reduction in foreign demand.
"Unfortunately,” he continued, “we are forced once again to emphasize that the lack of investment in production technology is a real problem for the entire Italian economic system that threatens the retreat at all levels of the production chain.”
He reiterated the industry’s frequent calls for clearer, more decisive action by Italian finance officials to make capital investment more feasible for domestic manufacturers, specifically by clarifying regulations that would make borrowing more affordable.