Italian Machines Tool Industry in 2017

In 2017, the world economy accelerated its growth pace (+3.5%) compared with the previous year (+2.9%). The development rate of international trade almost tripled, going from a moderate +1.7% in 2016 to +4.9%. In line with the overall trend, the exchange of manufactured products increased by 4.8%, versus +1.9% in 2016.

In 2017, the Italian economy went up (+1.5%). It is the best performance obtained by the country in the last period, but it is however one of the worst, if compared with those of the other European nations: only Greece grew less. Based on the quarterly analysis regarding the changes of the Gross Domestic Product, compared with the same period of the previous year, after an increase registered in the first quarter (+1.3%), there were three quarters of stronger growth with a stable trend (+1.6%, +1.7% and +1.6% in the other three periods). Once again investments represented the most dynamic component of demand (+3.3%), in particular those concerning machinery and equipment (+5%). A more moderate trend was shown in household expenditures (+1.4%) and public spending (+0.9%).


In 2017, the world production of machine tools went up, (+6.4%), to almost 75,100 million euro. In this context, Italy stood out for its excellent performance, achieving an increase above the average.

In particular, Italy strengthened its fourth place among world manufacturing countries and confirmed its third position among exporting countries, behind Germany and Japan.

In 2017, the Italian production of machine tools, robots and automation systems attained 6,085 million euro, reporting a 9.6% rise versus 2016. (TABLE 15)

Consumption went up by 15.7%, to 4,464 million euro, due to the excellent trend of deliveries in the domestic market, grown by 17.4%, to 2,700 million euro.

Imports increased by 13.2%, totalling 1,764 million euro; the market share covered by foreign machinery accounted for 39.5%.

After a negative 2016, in 2017 exports started to grow again, reaching 3,385 million euro, i.e. 4.1% more compared with the previous year. The export/production ratio decreased from 59% in 2016 to 56% in 2017. The trade balance went down by 4.3%, totalling 1,621 million euro.

The positive performance of the Italian industry of the sector influenced the level of use of production capacity, whose yearly average increased, from 79.1% in 2016 to 83.2% in 2017. The order portfolio also recorded a strong growth, which stood at 6.6 months of guaranteed production versus 5.9 months in 2016. Machine selling prices rose by 0.8% compared with the previous year.