The world that awaits us in this Covid-19 era was the dominant theme discussed at the annual general meeting of ACIMIT, held in Milan on October 6th. “In the coming years, the climate of uncertainty we are experiencing will worsen, and health emergencies will combine with further geopolitical tensions which are already heavily affecting business,” stated ACIMIT president Alessandro Zucchi, as he submitted 2019 figures for the Italian textile machinery industry and 2020 forecasts.
In 2019, Italy’s production output of textile machinery dropped by 11% compared to 2018, while exports fell 12%. The sharp decline in manufacturing activity in 2019 was common to both foreign and domestic markets in Italy. This widespread lessened demand in the main Asian and European markets has weighed heavily on machinery sales abroad, also affecting the United States and South America. A similar scenario was observed in Italy, where both imports of machinery of foreign origin and deliveries by Italian manufacturers decreased significantly.
This precarious economic situation, which in early 2020 hit Italy’s textile machinery industry – already affected by a weaker global demand – then suffered from the strong impact brought on by the pandemic. The repercussions are highlighted by a severe scaling back in orders for Italian producers, as monitored by the association on a quarterly basis. The order index for the first six months of the year dropped 39% compared to the same period for January to June 2019; a recessionary picture that remains confirmed for the whole of 2020, despite some timid signs of recovery in the third quarter. A recovery towards export levels resembling those of the period prior to Covid-19 can only be expected in 2021.