Disillusionment in the second quarter of 2019
As usual, the Italian association Acimall publishes the results of the quarterly economic analysis - even though there are no real success stories to announce for the second quarter, i.e. the period April to June 2019. What had already crystallized before was confirmed: After an initial "euphoria" about the benefits in terms of amortization and "Industry 4.0", the domestic market in Italy is returning to normality or reduced investment behavior. This is partly because the results of further domestic policy decisions are being awaited which could facilitate investment by small and medium-sized enterprises. Italian manufacturers also recorded a slowdown in exports, with Acimall citing the stagnation of the German economy and the ups and downs of relations between China and the USA as reasons for this.
According to the association's statistics office, orders for machinery and equipment for woodworking and furniture production fell by 14.4 percent compared with the second quarter of 2018. As already mentioned, demand from abroad declined by 7.1 percent, but in the first quarter of 2019 there was even a drop of 10.2 percent. Demand on the domestic market has declined massively: While it was minus 14.5 per cent from January to March, Italian manufacturers recorded a 36.3 per cent drop in demand from April to June.
The order range is 2.8 months, compared with 3.7 months at the end of March. Prices have risen by 1.2 percent since the beginning of the year. Similar to the first quarter of 2019, sales are still rising slightly, in contrast to incoming orders, with a plus of 3.3 percent. However, the increase from January to March was still just under double-digit.
The quality survey increasingly reflects pessimism: 12 percent of those surveyed see a positive production trend, 47 percent think it will remain unchanged, 41 percent expect a decline.
The employment figures were stable for 82 percent of all respondents, six percent have hired staff, 12 percent have already laid off people. Inventory levels are unchanged at 65 percent, 18 percent have higher inventories, 17 percent less "on stockpile".
Looking to the future, at least 18 percent of those surveyed currently believe in sales growth from orders from abroad, certainly driven by a very successful "Ligna" in Hanover. 53 percent are preparing for steady business, 29 percent expect a decline. Only six percent are optimistic about the domestic market. 65 percent of the respondents expect stagnation at a similar level, 29 percent are preparing for a decline.