Italian Textile Machinery IndustrySaw Slight Drop In 2003,China Remains Top Export Market
The year 2003 was not especially positive for the Italian textile machinery industry, according to preliminary figures provided by the Italian Association of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (ACIMIT). The industry saw a slight decrease in production numbers, which were strongly affected by a considerable reduction in sales in the Italian market. Foreign demand, however, increased.ACIMIT estimates 2003 production, compared with 2002, fell by 1 percent to 3,381 million euros, while exports increased by 2 percent to reach 2,468 million euros.“These results are due to the weak economic situation affecting the entire world economy for most of the year,”said Alberto M. Sacchi, ACIMIT president.“To this we can also add the well-known geopolitical situation, as well as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which blocked the activities of our companies for a considerable [amount of] time in certain important Asian markets.”The largest contribution to the growth in Italian exports of textile machinery in 2003 came from Asia, where China was once again the main market, accounting for 19 percent of Italian sales abroad. With a few exceptions, Italian exports to the entire Asian region made encouraging progress compared to the previous year. Most noteworthy was the sales growth in India and Pakistan. In the West, the recovery of the U.S. market has yet to take shape, while the only positive notes from Europe came from Turkey and certain Eastern European countries. Finally, Italian companies are waiting for a recovery in investments in the main European Union area markets.
A survey conducted recently of a sampling of ACIMIT member companies reveals cautious optimism for the coming year. However, the majority of the companies interviewed expect that over the next six months, receipt of orders in both domestic and foreign markets will remain unchanged.“The success of ITMA, the world textile machinery trade fair, held in Birmingham last October, could be the first indicator of a sector recovery,” Sacchi said.“The presence of several textile operators coming from important markets for our exports, such as Turkey, India and Pakistan, bears witness to sustained investment in the textile sector by these countries.”Sacchi added the success of ITMA 2003 is important not only for the European Committee of Textile Machinery Manufacturers (CEMATEX), the event organizer, but above all for Italy, which had the largest number of exhibitors — about 320.For 2004, ACIMIT expects the Asian markets once again will play a fundamental role in the Italian textile machinery industry.