Italy’s trade association for manufacturers of machine tools and related technologies reported that fourth-quarter 2014 new orders for products increased 19.1%, year over year, with positive results for domestic and foreign demand.
“This last survey highlights that there were five consecutive quarters of growth,” stated Luigi Galdabini, president of UCIMU-Sistemi per Produrre. “This certainly confirms a good expectation for the near future, taking into account that the collection of orders will materialize in production in the next six-to-eight months.”
New orders from foreign customers increased 19.3% during Q4, year over year. Domestic new orders rose 18.8% during the same period.
Italy has one of the largest machine tool industries in the world, but like all European manufacturing sectors it has endured long stretches of weak demand over the past five years. The rebound sustained throughout 2014 is indicated by UCIMU’s conclusion that total new orders increased 14.7% for the full year, compared to 2013.
Galdabini used the occasion of the data release to note the positive effects of the passage last March of new finance regulations allowing manufacturers to amortize their capital investments. “The recovery of the Italian demand for machine tools shows that the manufacturing industry of our country is getting back on track,” he said. “We hope that this new phase will be confirmed even in the long term, to the benefit of the whole country system.”
He also emphasized the need for more specific measures to stimulate new investment in Italian manufacturing, citing specifically the sector’s wish for revised standards for depreciating capital equipment purchases.”
Echoing an argument made repeatedly by CECIMO, the union of trade associations for over 1,500 companies across the European Union, Galdabini said “the recovery of machine tool consumption in Italy is an issue of interest not only for manufacturers, but must be more relevant among the priorities of our country, whose manufacturing industry is working with more and more obsolete and less efficient production technologies. To avoid a loss in competitiveness in our country system, we need to consider an incentive program to support the replacement of obsolete machinery.”