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Milan - Sales of Italian textile machinery dropped in the first quarter of 2023, hit by plunging orders from overseas markets.

The latest figures from trade body ACIMIT show that the textile machinery orders index for quarter declined 35 per cent compared to the same period in 2022. In absolute terms, the index stood at 84.8 points (basis: 2015=100).

ACIMIT attributed the market slowdown to a reduction in the order intake from overseas markets, which saw a 40 per cent decline although this fall was partly cushioned by a 14 per cent increase in domestic sales.

The absolute value of the index settled at 78.3 points abroad, while it measured 148.1 points in Italy. During this year’s first quarter, booked orders stood at 4.2 months of guaranteed production.

“The order index for the first quarter confirm a trend of the past few quarters, where uncertainty still predominates in global markets, both in terms of a macroeconomic framework that is characterized by a penalizing inflationary trend and ongoing geopolitical tensions," ACIMIT president Alessandro Zucchi said. "This is a scenario that this does not facilitate investment plans for businesses.”

However, he continued, this uncertainty does not appear to affect the sector’s operators, who are nonetheless permeated by a sense of optimism, as is also testified by the positive data drawn from a comparison with orders from the previous quarter (October-December 2022), for which total orders had been slightly on the rise at +3 per cent. “Manufacturers in our sector don’t lack for work, having filled up on orders last year and are now busy fulfilling them. The forecasts for 2023 remain positive,” Zucchi added. “I expect this confirmation of a healthy manufacturing sector to come from ITMA Milan, the world’s premier trade show dedicated to textile and clothing technologies, slated to open on June 8th at the Rho Fiera exhibition spaces.

"The exhibit will feature over 400 Italian manufacturers, taking up approximately 30 per cent of the entire exhibition space. This figure is in itself a result that confirms the leadership role of Italy’s textile machinery manufacturers.”

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