The number of construction machines put into the Italian market during the first quarter of 2016 was up on the same period last year, according to Italian construction equipment association Unacea.

Over the first three months of 2016, 1,977 construction machines joined the Italian market, up 29% compared to the same period of 2015.

Unacea added that sales results indicated that this involved 1,879 earthmoving machines and 76 road machines.

Paolo Venturi, president of Unacea, said, “The growth recorded in the first quarter confirms the observation made last year – the Italian market seems to have chosen the recovery path. However, we are facing very low figures if compared with the pre-crisis level.

“The expectations and the climate of business confidence are advantageous, especially in the residential and infrastructural construction industry. The risk is that expectations will not be fulfilled, cancelling any benefit both for industry and market.”

He said this was the reason why Unacea continued to ask the government for a greater intervention policy on infrastructure development in Italy. It is also continuing to ask local authorities for the implementation of clear rules for construction.

He added that another demand was a radical change in the credit system’s outlook of the industry, as it was continuing to consider companies in the construction industry sector “in a conservative way”.

Unacea said that the export trend was less optimistic and that in January 2016 it reached €135 million – representing a loss of 11.6% compared to last year.

Only the export of road equipment increased, with a rise of 12%. The export of tower cranes was virtually stationary with a slight fall of 0.2%, while there was a negative trend in the other product lines – crushing and screening equipment was down 31.5%, earthmoving machines and attachments down 8.6%, concrete equipment down 7%, and drilling equipment down 4%).

Imports were up 2.7% at €36.7 million. Unacea said the trade balance decreased by 15.5% but a surplus of more than €98 million was maintained.

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