In 2019, Italian industry of woodworking machinery and tools slid 9.9 per cent to value of Euro 2,266 million, reported Acimall, the Confindustria member association that represents industry companies from Italy. Such drop resulted from an “acceptable” trend in the first part of the year, followed by more significant reductions that affected all major international competitors, Germany on top.
Woodworking Machinery Exports: Decline of 8%
In 2019, exports recorded an 8% reduction, showing a solid trend in the traditional destination markets. Fortunately, Italy has largely differentiated export flows, so the serious difficulties in some markets were offset by more positive trends in others. On the domestic market, the drop amounted to 13.5%, reversing the trend of an index that had been positive for five years, also supported by fiscal incentives that enabled many companies to upgrade their equipment fleet in the 2016 to 2018 period, with inevitable consequences on purchasing volumes in the subsequent years.
Final figures 2019
Value in Million euro
% Var. to 2018
Source: Acimall Studies Office, May 2020.
An even stronger reduction affected import, down by 17%, while the trade balance remained at a high level (Euro 1.4 billion).
In the Middle East, Italy sold machinery worth 33 million euro, 14% less than the previous year, while China reaffirmed its established leadership, purchasing 63 million euro of Italian technology, 17.4 percent less than in 2018. Such decrease should be considered carefully and traced back to the increasing difficulties of Italian companies in their internationalisation process and the improving technological expertise of local equipment manufacturers, which reduced the number of market niches that foreign manufacturers can access. In addition, the introduction of import duties penalised the Asian furniture industry, and consequently had a negative impact on technology demand.
In 2019, Australia purchased 38 percent fewer woodworking and furniture machines from Italy, with a total value of 20 million euro. Like Poland and other countries, also in this case the negative trend is largely due to very positive results in 2018, so the year under scrutiny is basically showing a process of market value stabilization.
Exports to France closed 2019 with a 5% increase over the previous year, reaching a total value of Euro 110 million. Exports to Germany decreased 9.3% to Euro 102 million, while the exports to Poland (-20%) was strongly affected by the very positive trend of recent years, when massive investments saturated demand and caused the current “pause for reflection”, said Acimall in a statement.
In Europe, the Acimall Studies office highlights the reduction of exports to Spain (-8.9%) and the United Kingdom (-13%). A special mention for Russia and Turkey: the former, after several years of crisis due to currency and banking issues, suffered from a 9% reduction, stopping at Euro 38 million. The latter, after running at high levels for a few years, absorbed Euro 11 million of Italian exports, down by over 50% from 2018.
A solid trend was recorded in North America, where the United States were by far the top destination of Italian woodworking machinery, though recording a 5% decrease from 2018 for a total value just below Euro 200 million.
In South America, Argentina keeps falling, losing over 50% to Euro 6 million, while Brazil is back to growth, with made-in-Italy supplies up by 30% at Euro 20 million.