A positive result for the index of orders for Italian machine tools that in the fourth quarter 2010 posted an increase of 45% compared to the same period in 2009. This continues the growth trend first seen in early 2010; the absolute value of the index at 108.6 is once again higher than the base year (2005=100).

The data analysed by the UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE Studies Department, however, highlight the net discrepancy between orders from the domestic market and those from the international market.

In fact, while the index of orders on the international market grew by 80.7% compared to the fourth quarter of 2009, for an absolute value of 120.9, the index of orders won by manufacturers on the domestic market posted a drop of 8.3% for an absolute value of 75.5, the lowest since 1993 (with the exception of 2008).

On an annual basis, confirmed orders improved by 36% (for an absolute value of 82.5) compared to 2009, thanks to the increase in international (+50.2%) and domestic (+15.5%, achieved in the first six months) orders.

"A return to stagnation on the domestic market," said the President of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, Giancarlo Losma, "makes the strengthening of Italian machine tool companies in financial and organisational terms the most urgent, since even their capacity to intercept demand on the international market, currently the only source of growth, would otherwise be compromised.

It is vital that the resources needed to support competitive comparison should be made available through tools such as the Italian Investment Fund, which encourages the capitalization of small-medium companies, ensures easier access to credit, supports medium-long term development projects and promotes a more structured presence on the international market.

In parallel, incentives must be given to company networks and forms of aggregation between small-medium companies to ensure stronger competitiveness on an international scale."

As regards the domestic market, the Director General of UCIMU-SISTEMI PER PRODURRE, Alfredo Mariotti, emphasises that "the trend for orders clearly highlights that Italian manufacturing companies made investments while suitable support was available, in particular through to the end of the Tremonti Ter incentive law.

The demand for technology capable of innovating production systems is therefore strong but is rendered latent by the difficult market situation. Since upgrading the production structure is a necessary condition for the growth of the overall national economy, one can no longer postpone the implementation of measures supporting demand for new production systems."

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