ISTAT's (Italy's leading statistics institute) recently-released data for January 2013 offers an insight into the global market and its short-term prospects.In keeping with the traditional viewpoint held by Gimav, which reflects that of Italian companies, there are grounds for cautious optimism and for some insightful observations. The first concerns the positive export trends in Europe (which rose slightly over the December 2012 quarter) and in some non-European countries, such as the United States, Latin America, China, Japan and North Africa (with an almost 18 percentage point increase). The second is related to the 15.4% increase in industrial machinery which generated a €3.2 billion trade surplus, and accounts for approximately two-thirds of the entire manufacturing industry.
A third observation concerns the 2013-2016 export report submitted by the Sace Insurance Group which specializes in services to banks and companies. The report indicates that Italian exports will experience moderate but progressive growth overall, at an average yearly rate of 7.9% and with a focus on the new emerging economies. The highest result (+8.5%) will be achieved in 2016. A major contribution will be made by the most innovative industrial machinery with much of the credit going to the most proactive small and medium-sized companies and to the small Italian multinationals that over the last few years have undertaken bold turnaround processes and major efforts to innovate their product lines. The traditional export markets are China (+12.3%), Brazil (11.3%), Romania (10.6%), Turkey (+10.2%), Russia (+9.4%) and Poland (+8.4%); mature marketplaces are Switzerland (+11.5%), the United States (+11.2%), France (+7%) and Germany (+6.6%), and emerging countries include Indonesia (+10.1%), the Philippines (+10.8%), Malaysia (+9.6%), Chile (+8.9%), Nigeria (+9.4%), Angola (+10.2%) and Qatar (+9.7%).
Considering that the stars of these performances were the high-profile and technology-rich industries, first and foremost the industrial machinery sector, we asked Cinzia Schiatti, President of the Gimav association that represents the very same type of successful Italian companies outlined in the SACE report in the glass industry, for her opinion: "Markets are in fact picking up. Exports are faring extremely well and can be considered the only source of livelihood for Italian companies. We had this feeling already at the Glasstec exhibition and the export trends in the very first months of the year have confirmed it. The BRIC countries remain the best clients for our machines, with Russia leading the way. Malaysia is making new investments and poorer countries in Africa such as Nigeria and Angola have started working and investing. They require a lot of assistance and support but the short-term prospects could be interesting. Companies in our industry and particularly Gimav members - concludes Cinzia Schiatti - have learnt a lesson from the crisis and understood how it has changed the market. The overall slowdown has made it possible to focus on the new needs in order to offer machines with better processing accuracy, automation and reliability. Today, these companies can reap the rewards of their efforts."