Italy's Machine Trade Giddy From Strong U.S. Economy

The surprisingly strong U.S. economy is paying off well for Italian manufacturers of sophisticated machine tools. Over the past year they have exported 60% of their production to a customer list headed by U.S. and German automotive and aerospace firms. Both output and exports are likely to rise 6% in value in 1999, forecasts UCIMU, the Italian machine tool association. One of the biggest sellers is Gildemeister Italiana's giant multi-spindle lathe for turning out complex automotive parts at high speed. And IEMCA SPA, a producer of machines that feed metal into lathes, is so happy with recent results (the U.S. accounts for 25% of its earnings) that it plans to set up an assembly operation for its machines in the U.S. in the year 2000.

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