Column number 79 – 2021

According to Cecimo’s quarterly review of machine tools market and production, MT production levels are down, as early estimates show output decreasing by more than 30% in 2020 due to the pandemic. In absolute volumes, machine tool production is expected to drop to 18,7 billion euros in 2020. This is the worst score for CECIMO aggregated machine tool output since the 2009 financial crisis.

Always according to Cecimo statistical toolbox Q3-2020, EU27’s Industrial Production Index continue to decrease in the third quarter of 2020. The European economy’s average IPI quarterly reading is currently 99,3, a -5% decrease compared to the same period of the previous year. In sectoral terms, the investment goods sector reports double-digit decreases during this three-month period.

The question is now: how long European industry and, from a larger point of view, European economy will stand this state of things? These figures are some months old, when we all were waiting for 2021 as the year in which pandemic would have definitely left behind: now, in ides of March, we have the reasonable sureness that we will have to handle with it until the third quarter and that its significant legacy is yet to come.

In Italy, where total exports mark -24.2% compared to 2019, for a value of approximately 2,300 million euros, the scenery is dark: government largely permitted extraordinary layoffs, with a contemporary ban on firing, but at the end of these measures many companies will be forced to fire many of their workers. If the pandemic will last any longer, it will be difficult for a great number of companies, not only in Tourism and Food and Wine, but also in Services and Industry, to hold on: many have already closed, much more will in short.

On 11 February 2021, the European Commission published its Winter 2021 Economic Forecast. The forecast projects that the euro area economy will grow by 3.8% in both 2021 and 2022. The forecast projects that the EU economy will grow by 3.7% in 2021 and 3.9% in 2022.

The euro area and EU economies are expected to reach their pre-crisis levels of output earlier than anticipated in the Autumn 2020 Economic Forecast, largely because of the stronger than expected growth momentum projected in the second half of 2021 and in 2022.

After strong growth in the third quarter of 2020, economic activity contracted again in the fourth quarter as a second wave of the pandemic triggered renewed containment measures. With those measures still in place, the EU and euro area economies are expected to contract in the first quarter of 2021. Economic growth is set to resume in the spring and gather momentum in the summer as vaccination programmes progress and containment measures gradually ease.

An improved outlook for the global economy is also set to support the recovery. The economic impact of the pandemic remains uneven across Member States and the speed of the recovery is also projected to vary significantly.

Also for Tube Today the pandemic made everything more complicated: the exhibitions have changed their schedule, some have been cancelled, some other held virtually, and the organization of the issues has been subject to constant changes. Anyway, we are still working to give to our readers, subscribers and customers, the best service we can.

See you in better days.