ASSAGO (MILAN), ITALY — Preliminary figures indicate that Italian production of woodworking machinery and tools decreased 48.3 percent in 2009 as compared to 2008, according to a new report issued by Acimall, the association representing manufacturers in that sector. The report also shows that exports of those products dropped 48.7 percent in the same time period.

There was a 40.6 percent decline in imports, Acimall said, a value which contributed to set the trade balance at -50 percent as compared to 2008 and to decrease apparent consumption by 46 percent. These figures are preliminary, Acimall added, as figures from the latter months of the year are currently under evaluation; they seem to show a slight recovery.

Although the association said that it is very difficult to make a forecast for 2010 for a variety of reasons, it expects to see growth of between 5 and 10 percent compared to the final 2009 figures. This is based on an expected recovery in the United States, Spain and Russia.

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