More Proof of Machine Tool Demand Decline

Italian producers’ new order totals fell -31.4% year-over-year in 2Q 2019, with double-digit decreases from domestic and foreign buyers

Data continues to demonstrate the decline in demand for manufacturing technology, with the Italian machine-tool builders trade association (UCIMU) now reporting a -31.4% decline in new orders during the second quarter of 2019.

UCIMU-Sistemi per Produrre represents Italian machine-tool, robot, and automation system suppliers. The slowing demand for machine tools first became apparent in the latter part of 2018, with the group’s annual summary report indicating a slight year-over-year decline in demand for new machine tools.

A similar decline in demand for machine tools was revealed in both the Q1 and Q2 summary reports issued by CECIMO – the European Association for the Machine Tool Industries and Related Manufacturing Technologies, of which UCIMU is a member group.

Production of new machine tools across all of Europe is expected to be flat in 2019, according to CECIMO.

U.S. machine tool orders also have shown weakness, as evident in the monthly U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders report issued by AMT, the Assn. for Manufacturing Technology. Through the first five months of 2019, U.S. machine shops’ new orders are valued -13.5% below the January-May 2018 total.

The 2Q report by the Italian group makes it clear that the decline is evident both in domestic and foreign orders.

Specifically, UCIMU reported that machine-tool orders from the domestic (Italian) market fell -43.0% compared with the results of the April-June 2018 period.

Orders from outside Italy fell by -28.5% compared with 2Q 2018.

“The drop in domestic orders proves that the Italian market, after the positive shock caused by the provisions 4.0, is returning to its normal dimensions. However, even if we expected a pace change, this normalization process turned out to be particularly abrupt in the first months of the year,” according to Massimo Carboniero, president of UCIMU.

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