Moderate 1Q-2019 for Italian woodworking machinery

ITALY - According to the Acimall (Italian Woodworking Machinery and Tools Manufacturers' Association) Studies Office, the first quarter 2019 showed an overall reduction of orders, which can be considered "inevitable" after the booming growth of 2017 and further expansion last year; moreover, at least on the domestic side, a "beneficial effect" will certainly come from the reintroduction of Superamortization in the “Growth Act” and the preservation of Hyperamortization to support the digital innovation process of companies and consequently their global competitiveness.

836ACIMALLAccording to the Acimall survey, the industry showed in the first three months of 2019 an 11 percent reduction of orders compared to the same period of the previous year. Orders from abroad decreased by 10.2 percent, while domestic demand dropped by 14.5 percent.

The book of orders is at 3.7 months, while prices have been growing by 0.5 percent since the beginning of 2019. Revenue figures are recording an opposite trend to orders, with a 10.3 percent increase.

The quality survey for the period under scrutiny reveals that 7 percent of the interviews indicate a positive production trend, 60 percent a stationary trend and 33 percent a slowdown.

Unfortunately, the forecast survey shows an enduring mood of distrust among industry players, both on the domestic and on the international side, whereby such mood is favored by all key macroeconomic variables that suggest that the minor positive rebound of industrial production in February-March was mostly due to stocks replenishment. This adds to GDP growth forecasts at 0.2 percent, which is not enough to feed confidence.

The forecast survey results are clear: for the domestic market, only 7 percent expect growth, 60 percent indicate stability and 33 percent fear shrinking business (the negative balance is minus 26). More optimism on the export side: according to 13 percent of the sample, foreign orders will increase in the next quarter, while they will remain stable for 60 percent and 27 percent expect a reduction (negative balance -14).

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