The fourth quarter 2014 brought more optimism about the “health” of Italian wood technology. In the final quarter of the year, orders increased by as much as 20.1 percent compared to the same period of 2013. Furthermore, domestic orders showed the liveliest trend, with a significant 24.7 percent increase, compared to the October-December 2013 period. Good results also for orders from abroad, up by 19.7 percent. This positive figure has generated a climate of confidence and strengthened the feeling that 2015 might be a better year than expected.
Waiting for further necessary evidence about the near future, we can say that 2014, opened in a climate of substantial stability, had three consecutive months of growth since April, with stronger propensity to invest on the "domestic front", certainly supported by laws like Sabatini-bis and tax credits.
Export, instead, was impacted by the collapse of Russian sales, luckily compensated by a real boom of export to North America, driven by the United States.
The figures of the trend survey by Acimall’s Studies Office, which involves a statistic sample representing the entire wood and wood materials technology industry, indicate that the orders book currently spans 2.5 months (versus 2.2 in the fourth quarter 2013), while price increase in 2014 amounted to 1.3 percent.
According to the quality survey, 39 percent of the interviewed companies indicate a positive production trend, 44 percent stable and 17 percent decreasing. The mood is positive also for employment: 22 percent of the sample declared that employment has gone back to growth, while nobody dared give such opinion at the end of 2013, when occupation was considered “stable” by 91 percent (today only 72 percent) and decreasing according to 9 percent (now 6 percent). As a result, the final balance of the last quarter 2014 is positive by 31 points. Available stocks are stationary according to 56 percent, decreasing according to the remaining 44 percent.
An outlook of possible developments in the wood technology industry is offered by the forecast survey, though with contrasting signs: according to 61 percent of the interviewees, in the JanuaryMarch 2015 period foreign orders will be stable, while they will increase for 33 percent and decrease for 6 percent (positive balance 27). Different expectations for the domestic market: 72 percent of the sample predict that orders from Italian companies will remain basically unvaried, 22 percent fear reduction, while 6 percent expect further growth (negative balance 16).