After an excellent 2021, with turnover up 21.6%, the Italian capital goods industry is slowing down. Here are the figures from the Federmacchine Statistics Group, presented in July during the Members’ Meeting.

In 2021, the industry’s turnover stood at 50.4 billion euros, an increase of 21.6% over 2020, recovering the ground lost in 2019-2020 and even improving on the 2018 record. Exports-growing 18.1% to 32.9 billion euros-returned to pre-pandemic levels; domestic deliveries reached a value of 17.5 billion euros, a 28.6% increase over 2020. The protagonist of this unprecedented growth was domestic demand, which grew 29.7% to 27.2 billion euros, also benefiting imports (9.6 billion euros, up 31.7%). Italian companies in the sector have firmly manned the local market: the import/consumption figure remains at 35.5% while the export/turnover ratio fell two%age points, to 65.2%.

The 2022 forecast

According to forecasts, however, growth will stop in 2022 by stabilizing. Expectations are for turnover at +1.3%, exports at +2.1% with an export-to-turnover ratio at 65.7%, and domestic consumption at +2.4%. This will benefit both imports, which are expected to grow by 7.4%, and manufacturers’ deliveries, which are expected to remain stable (down 0.3%). The import/consumption ratio will grow to 37.2% thus remaining at traditional levels.

Critical issues are well known: rising inflation, obstacles in supply chains, volatility in financial markets, further increases in commodity, energy and food prices. “Even the approaching parity between the euro and the dollar,” Lesce commented, “which is supposed to support EU countries’ exports to the U.S. is actually in danger of driving up commodity and energy prices even higher. “The cure? At Federmacchine they have no doubt: joint and coordinated action by Europe.

Exports for 2021 and in the first quarter of 2022.

28% of total industry exports went to the EU-area, which absorbs about 63% of Italian sales; followed by Asia (10%) and North America (10%), while non-EU Europe absorbed 8.9% of the total.

In 2021 main destination markets were: United States (4 billion euros, +21.4%); Germany (3.5 billion +14.8%); France (2.2 billion +15.8%); China (2 billion, +16.6%); Turkey (1.4 billion +34.6%).

In January-March 2022, Italian capital goods exports grew (+8.8%) compared to the same period in 2021, along the same routes. The only setback concerns non-EU countries and is mostly determined by the outbreak of the war between Russia and Ukraine: Russia (-18.3%), Ukraine (-55.3%), Belarus (-43%) but also Turkey (-9.3%) and the United Kingdom (-9.1%). In contrast, sales in Switzerland (+21.8%) were good.