The European sector has been fully suffered the effects of the crisis since the last quarter of 2008. As a result of the decline of industrial production and capital investment, the European machine tool industry experienced a drop in order intake exceeding 53% versus the first quarter of 2008 in the first quarter of 2009. Final consumer markets have seen weakening demand and accordingly reduced investment in machine tool as one of the first steps of adjustment of costs. Javier Eguren, President of Cecimo, says: "the car industry which represents approximately 30% of the turnover of the machine tool, has restricted their investments".
The weakening of demand in the market of final consumption does provide for the consumption of machine tools in Europe to fall from a 30y 40% in 2009. Experts predict that Asia, and particularly China, and India, it will be less affected than Europe and the USA. Intending to tackle the fall as far as possible, the European machine tool manufacturers have reduced their stocks and have relaxed their workforce by reducing working times to retain his strategic ability to work. Filip Geerts, Secretary General of Cecimo, emphasizes: "the combination of the fall of orders in the first quarter of 2009 along with the reduction of inventory levels will directly impact on the overall capacity of production of new machine tools in 2009.".
Despite the overall environment of economic difficulties, Cecimo is leading the global market for the production of machine tools with a market share of 44%. But that leadership can be jeopardized given that Europe is benefiting from stimulus Yes plans they are receiving their competitors in Asia and the USA.
Currently, the behaviour of the Chinese market, which represents 32% of global consumption of machine tools in 2009 (more than 12,000 million euros), from 15% of imports of Cecimo origin, is revealed as crucial for the European machine tool industry.
Frank Brinken, President of the Economic Committee of Cecimo, says: "Cannot interpret as a positive sign the slight increase of the index of business confidence in the month of April." "On the other hand, investments in the sectors of renewable energy sources and technologies of manufacturing energy-efficient can become another driving force for change of trend." CECIMO also has good business expectations regarding the EMO fair, to be held in Milan from 5 to October 10, 2009.
However the majority of economists are skeptical about a consistent recovery before 2010. Europe is faced with the challenge of preserving its workforce specializing for a prolonged period of recession.
CECIMO has alerted the European institutions about the strategic position of machine tools for the maintenance of industrial activity and competitiveness in Europe. European Governments should be aware that without a powerful sector of machine tools, industrial production in Europe will disappear quickly and irreversibly.
CECIMO firmly believes that the current economic difficulties represent an opportunity to develop new business models and technologies in the industry of machine tool leading to new competitive advantages. This will contribute to reinforce European leadership of the international production of machine tools.