The Acimall Studies Office has published preliminary figures for the final balance of the year that has just ended. According to statistics, production increased by 23 percent, a good result, though certainly not enough to go back to pre-crisis levels. In this respect, we can add that, if the industry index in 2000 was equal to 100, today we are at 65, and at the end of 2011 we might climb up to 75. The crisis was heavy and is not behind us, yet; recovery has started, we can feel it, but it is highly unlikely that things will be again the same in the short term.

So, the industry is still suffering, with an offer that is higher than demand.

The domestic market (apparent consumption up by 38 percent compared to 2009) was characterized by the putting forward of purchases in the first half of the year, so as to benefit from the tax allowances of the Tremonti Ter law. Import has grown too (plus 46.6 percent), driven by increasing flows from China (plus 35 percent) and Germany (plus 61 percent). While Chinese machinery was mainly traded through triangulation and can be the platform for Italian production of traditional equipment, German machines are proving to be highly competitive. Massive Italian production has always been a barrier against import, but our country is inevitably bound to achieve penetration levels by international competitors similar to other markets.

Also export is growing (plus 18.2 percent), mainly towards – in sequence – France, Germany, Belgium, Russia, Poland, China, Spain, the United States (our best customers until few years ago….), Brazil, India and more.

A quick outlook: in 2011, further production growth is expected by the Acimall Studies Office, estimated between 10 and 15 percent.

FOURTH QUARTER 2010

Figures reported above are confirmed by the trend of orders in the final quarter 2010: recovery, as already stated, continues at a slow pace. Orders from Italian companies increased by 9.1 percent compared to the same period in 2009, while orders from abroad grew by 13.4 percent. China, India and the Middle East are the major customers, while “historical” European markets are still far from pre-crisis levels. On the whole, orders increased by 12.3 percent compared to October-December 2009.

As for turnover, there was a 30 percent increase from the previous quarter, a period that – we remind you – had been affected by the summer holidays.

According to the quality survey, 44 percent of the interviewed companies indicate a positive production trend, 48 percent stable and 8 percent decreasing.

Employment is considered stationary by 72 percent of the sample, falling by 24 percent and growing by the remaining 4 percent. Available stocks are stationary according to 60 percent, decreasing according to 32 percent and growing according to the remaining 8 percent.

The forecast survey offers an outlook on short-term trends: signs of moderate optimism are coming from abroad, supported by positive figures from the emerging countries. On the domestic side, instead, inactivity is still the predominant attitude, which should characterize most of 2011. According to 40 percent of the sample, orders from overseas will increase, while they will remain stable according to 52 percent, and decrease for 8 percent (the balance is +32). 28 percent predict a shrinking domestic market, while 60 percent expect substantial stability and only 12 percent believe that things will improve (the balance is minus 16).

SOURCE: Acimall

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