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New Orders of Italian Textile Machinery Tumble in Q3 as Global Tensions Dampen Investment

New orders of Italian-made textile machinery were down in both foreign and domestic markets in the third quarter of 2019, according to a new report from the Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers (ACIMIT).

From July to September 2019, the orders index for ACIMIT members was down by 10 percent compared to the same period in the previous year, the association reported. The value of the index, set in 2015 at 100 points, fell to 97.4 points in the quarter.

“The orders index for the textile sector provides a true picture of the global market’s downsizing. Current geopolitical tensions are undermining the climate of trust for businesses that need to invest,” ACIMIT president Alessandro Zucchi said. “In Italy, uncertainties linked to future processes relating to the Industry 4.0 plan have effectively slowed demand for machinery.”

Zucchi is referring to the Italian government’s Industry 4.0 plan to boost access to new technology, research and development for businesses nationwide. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Italy’s new government coalition, led by the Five Star party, was “struggling with internal strife and falling support,” adding that investors felt “jittery” about the uncertainty surrounding the government.

“I hope that the current government will continue on the path set out by the previous administrations,” Zucchi added.

Italian textile machinery manufacturers (ACIMIT) report falling purchases in 2019
The ACIMIT said geopolitical tensions have weighed on purchases of new textile machinery made in Italy. Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers

International sales fell by 8 percent with an absolute index of 98.9 points, while domestic sales plunged 22 percent at an absolute index of 94.9 points compared to the third quarter of 2018.

Despite its troubles in the third quarter, the ACIMIT remains optimistic about 2020 but cautioned members to be patient throughout the rest of the year, as the situation is unlikely to change in the short term.

“We don’t expect any changes of course for the current trend this year,” Zucchi concluded. “Exports data, updated to the first six months of the year, confirm an overall negative progression compared to the same period for 2018, with the exception of the Chinese market, which is experiencing growth. However, we expect a boost in investments in 2020.”

The ACIMIT represents roughly 300 Italian manufacturers with approximately 12,000 employees. Combined, the group’s members represent about 2.5 billion euros ($2.77 billion) of machinery production.