Industrial production: in December +1.1% month, -2.1% year. In 2023 the decline was 2.5%

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December industrial production data presents compared to the previous month a progress of 1.1%, beyond analysts’ expectations, making the balance sheet for the year less bitter. A rise which, however, does not significantly change the recent trend, which is negative if you look at the annual comparison, where the reduction is visible, equal to 2.1%, the eleventh consecutive decline on a trend basis. Thus, after a year of strong rebound, 2021, and a subsequent period of relative stability, industrial production goes into reverse in 2023 and falls by 2.5% overall, the first annual reduction after the fall recorded in the year of Covid.

A question problem

Negative signals coming both from internal demand, weak in terms of consumption of goods (-1% in nine months in Prometeia’s estimates) and in terms of international demand, on average decreasing in volume by more than three points in the world. A fall which Italy nevertheless managed to stem, still managing to remain on positive ground in sales in the first 11 months of the year.

Looking at the sectors, we can see a fairly wide divergence in fate during the month, with rubber-plastic, machinery and textile-clothing slowing down, while at the other extreme electronics, food and electrical equipment are the best sectors, in positive territory, to which he also adds chemistry after months of apnea. The growth of means of transport slows down, almost to a standstill overall, with cars dropping 11% per year in the wake of Stellantis’ production reduction, a decline which, in light of the latest announcements in the following survey months, is destined to continue.

Insufficient orders

The evidence of the arrival of new problems to face compared to the recent past for our industry is in the Istat qualitative surveys: the main obstacle in production is today in fact identified in the insufficiency of demand and 22% of companies think this, the level maximum since the end of 2020. Conversely, given that orders are currently lacking, the insufficiency of materials (4.3%) is now relegated to a residual issue, while until a few months ago it represented the main issue, reported by a ‘business in five.

A striking case is that of machine tools, where the wait for the implementing decrees of the 5.0 bonuses has frozen internal demand, more than halving orders between October and December. Just as the entire construction-related supply chain in general is slowing down, “orphan” of the 100% superbonus and the transfer of credit.

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