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THE MACHINE-TOOLS INDUSTRY WANTS TO KEEP ON EXPANDING EVEN IN RUSSIA



THE MACHINE-TOOLS INDUSTRY WANTS TO KEEP ON EXPANDING EVEN IN RUSSIA

The machine-tools and automation industry is one of the most dynamic sectors for Italian exports. Despite the fall in the industrial production between the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 (-0.3% taking into account an extra working day in the first two months of the year) the industry is enjoying a particularly positive phase: firms have filled their order books for the whole of 2008 after closing last year with a sharp increase in output and exports. Alberto Tacchella, President of the trade association UCIMU, has recently declared: “I would not hesitate to call 2007 a record year for the automation and robotics sector. In some cases – he added – order portfolios run into the first months of 2009, which allows us to predict that exports will keep on growing”.

It is a very healthy ‘Made in Italy’ sector, therefore, that is going to play a leading role in the 2008 edition of Metalloobrabotka (www.metobr-expo.ru/en ), one of the most important Russian trade events in this industry. Italy will take part with an official delegation organized by ICE, the Italian Trade Commission, in cooperation with UCIMU (the Union of Italian Manufacturers of Machine Tools, www.ucimu.it/eng/). The fair, which takes place every two years, will be held in Moscow from the 26th to the 31st May 2008 in one of the largest exhibition centres of Russia and Eastern Europe, the Expocentr. In 2006, Metalloobrabotka attracted over 41,000 visitors (+20% compared to the previous edition) and 720 exhibitors from 28 different countries.

Counting on a decennial tradition (the first edition was held in 1984), this Moscow fair is a showcase for a wide range of products, from manufacturing machinery to design and scientific research. In particular, Metalloobrabotka concentrates on all types of machine-tools and ancillary products and represents, for the industries in this sector, a gateway to one of the largest markets in the world. Thanks to ICE’s promotional activities, which come on the back of past initiatives undertaken in the Russian market, Italian companies will be able to exploit the opportunities offered by this event to consolidate and develop their trade links and industrial cooperation with local players.

Italian firms have certainly a lot to offer. Historically, theirs is one of the most dynamic sectors of ‘Made in Italy’ manufacturing that is exported on the international markets. In 2007 – according to the provisional data supplied by UCIMU on the 18th December – output grew by 16.7% annually to 5,825 million euros. “This result – UCIMU’s research centre explains – is due to the positive trend in exports as well as by the upswing registered by producers in the domestic market”. The increase in exports was similar to the one in output: +16% to 3,215 million euros. Demand has grown from traditional export destinations for Made in Italy products as well as from emerging countries. Germany and China, in particular, are the biggest markets for Italian machine-tools. China’s importance, UCIMU underlines, confirms the buoyancy of the Asian market, which in 2005 was the fifth most important destination for Italian exports in terms of volume and value. The US, Spain, France and Russia follow in the list.

Among the emerging markets, Russia showed the second strongest increase in sales in 2007: +51.7%, coming right after India’s (+52.4%), but beating the Czech Republic’s +43.9%, Poland’s +37.6%, Romania’s 35.1%, Mexico’s +28.3% and Turkey’s +20.9%. Growth margins are still very wide in Russia: the economy has been going through an expansionary phase for several years, driven by oil and natural gas exports. Internal demand is also increasing due to the rise in consumption and investments, which are supported by the trade surplus in energy and require a constant flow of imports. This general trend applies to the machine-tools sector, which is especially in demand in the automotive, transport and white goods industries. In all these sectors, Italian products are successful because they offer an added value in terms of technological content and customisation of solutions.

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