Once again, “stability” is the most suitable definition for the trend of made-in-Italy technology in the woodworking and wood-based materials industry. Just like the first three months of this year, also the second quarter was characterized by substantial stability on the domestic and international markets. And also in the April-June period, we must underline an essential difference: while stability in orders from abroad is a further positive step towards the consolidation of Italy’s strong export propensity, the same “stability” on the Italian market once again means that Italian companies using woodworking technology show no signs of liveliness, suggesting no recovery, however moderate, in the short term.
The traditional survey by the Studies Office of Acimall (the Italian woodworking machinery and tools manufacturers’ association), based on a statistic sample of manufacturers of all types and sizes, reveals decreasing orders down by 1.1 percent compared to the same period of 2012. Demand from abroad decreased by 0.9 percent, while the decline on the domestic market was 1.4 percent. The book of orders is at 2.6 months, while prices have been growing by 0.9 percent since the beginning of the year. Revenues in the quarter under scrutiny dropped by 3 percent compared to April-June 2012.
According to the quality survey, 35 percent of the interviewed companies indicate a positive production trend, 42 percent stable and 23 percent decreasing. Employment is considered stationary by 81 percent of the sample and falling by the remaining 19 percent. Available stocks are stationary according to 46 percent, decreasing according to 31 percent and growing according to the remaining 23 percent.
The forecast survey outlines possible short-term industry trends: moderate optimism for export, but nobody expects a rally of sales in Italy. Foreign orders will record growth according to 27 percent of the sample, while they are expected to stay at the same level according to 54 percent. The remaining 19 percent expects a drop (balance is plus 8). The domestic market will be shrinking further according to 27 percent of the sample, remain stable according to 73 percent (negative balance minus 27).
A look at the index of confidence of Italian manufacturers, slightly improving for foreign markets after a long period of alternate positive and negative feelings, offers a small positive signal within a generally “wait-and-see” attitude for the future developments of international market and economy. Pessimism about the domestic market has become solid. The April-June 2013 period is the eleventh consecutive quarter with negative expectations, the seventh with a negative balance exceeding 20 points. Recovery is inevitably associated to government measures to revive domestic demand: everyone is waiting to see the impact of recent measures offer tax allowances for building renovation and a “furniture bonus”, for which a further extension at least to June 2014 has already been urged by many.
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