A picture of continued growth has been recorded for the Italian construction market, which grew 11% compared to 2013, according to trade association Unacea.
Its figures showed that earthmoving machine sales last year of 6,670 were up 11%, matched by an increase of 12% to 116 units for roadbuilding machines.
However president of Unacea Paolo Venturi warned that figures had been boosted by a strong start to 2014 (with 20% growth) which subsequently reduced during the year.
He explained that the country’s construction export market had suffered, with the latest figures for the first 10 months of 2014 from the Italian Institute of Statistics revealing a year-on-year 4% sales drop, to €1.5 billion.
Unacea’s president said there had been a concerning level of hesitation in adopting a framework of measures to respond to key industry issues. These included moves to tackle hydrogeological instability in areas of the country and addressing a need to replace obsolete equipment with the next generation of machinery.
Venturi said, "According to the final results of 2014, we were right when we said that prudence was far more essential than enthusiasm.
“In fact, the 20% increase observed in the first quarter was nearly halved at the end of the year. What remains is the fall of more than 80% compared to the sales results for 2007.”
The drop in the Italian export market was felt most sharply with drilling equipment (with figures down by 33%) and in the crushing and screening sector (down 19%). Elsewhere, tower crane sales were also disappointing and dropped by (14%). Set against this, the value of construction imports rose by by 23% to €432 million.
This compared to global figures from Off-Highway Research, which showed that world sales of construction equipment in 2014 generated an income of €81 billion, a fall of 2% year-on-year. Off-Highway Research forecast 5% growth for 2015 to €86 billion.