Italian manufacturers’ new orders for machine tools fell for the third consecutive quarter during Q4 2016, though the trade association representing that industry described the situation as “stationary,” with demand from foreign buyers showing notable strength. UCIMU-Sistemi per Produrre, which represents manufacturers of machine tools, automation systems, and auxiliary products, said its members’ fourth-quarter 2016 new orders rose just 0.3% versus the Q4 2015 result, and that its index of machine tool orders (2010 average = 100) increased to 133.3.
The modest Q4 2016 results contrast with the enthusiastic forecast that UCIMU issued at the end of last year, when they claimed new tax provisions would encourage Italian manufacturers to boost their capital investments in the months to come. That change, which allows businesses to depreciate the value of their new investments by up to 250%, was implemented last September and took effect at the start of 2017.
Early in January, UCIMU forecast Italian machine-tool exports would rise 1.7% year-over-year for 2017 (having fallen 3.3% in 2016) to an estimated $3.4 billion.
Now, however, UCIMU notes that domestic new-order volume declined in Q4 (-12.1% versus Q4 2015) for the first time in over three years, 13 consecutive quarters of rising demand value for the Italian industry. Orders from foreign buyers rose 3.4%, compared to the previous year.