MILANO – The industry that drove the strong economic rebound out of the pandemic crisis took a breather in August. According to Istat data on industrial production, in the month of midsummer the seasonally adjusted index that traces the trend of Italian factories fell by 0.2% compared to July. “In August there was a slight decline in industrial production, after two months of growth – the comment entrusted to a note by the Institute of Statistics – On the average of the last three months the economic trend is positive”. In fact, the leap forward recorded in the previous months remains intact, so much so that “compared to February 2020, the month before the start of the health emergency, the level of the August index is 1.5% higher, net of seasonal “.
In any case, the June-August quarter recorded an increase in production levels of 1.1% over the previous quarter.
Going down to the level of detail, Istat data details that the monthly seasonally adjusted index grows on a cyclical basis for capital goods (+ 0.8%), while it decreases for energy (-2.1%), consumer goods (-2.0%) and intermediate goods (-1.3%).
Among the sectors most penalized by this phase, it emerges that the chip crisis that is overwhelming the global automotive industry has not spared our country: the production of motor vehicles in August fell by 37.4% in Italy, accentuating the dynamics of July when the decline was 7.4%. It must be said, however, that the trend in vehicle production had taken on a gritty tone given that on an annual basis, in the first 8 months of the year and therefore compared to the same period of 2020, production grew by 43%.
Adjusted for calendar effects, the August production index is unchanged from the previous year. “Intermediate goods (+ 4.9%) and capital goods (+ 4.4%) grew sharply; on the other hand, consumer goods decreased (-5.4%) and, to a more marked extent, energy (-6.6%) “. If we look again at the trend comparison, the sectors of activity that record the greatest trend increases “are metallurgy and the manufacture of metal products (+ 16.6%), the manufacture of machinery (+ 10.3%) and manufacture of electrical equipment (+ 6.3%). Conversely, the most marked decreases are observed in the manufacture of means of transport (-23.7%), in the production of basic pharmaceutical products and preparations (-20.9%) and in mining activities (-17.7%) “.
Confcommercio points to fears about taxes and prices
As already pointed out by several observers, for the continuation of the recovery, a rotation from the industrial sector to those of services and consumption is necessary: it is now up to them to pull the Italian economy definitively out of the pandemic while waiting for structural reforms and financing of the Recovery plan put Italy on that path of sustainable and lasting growth that has been lacking in the last twenty years and is the priority of the Draghi government. From this point of view, however, an alarm bell comes from Confcommercio, which has drawn up a survey with Metrica Ricerche from which it emerges that uncertainty is still holding back the recovery, with families and businesses fearing increases in taxes and prices. .
It is therefore uncertainty that characterizes the attitude of families and businesses towards the last months of 2021. From now to the end of the year, businesses are more optimistic (42.7%) than households (24.3%) . But if companies expect an improvement in their business (61%) and more investments (one in three), families fear a possible drop in incomes (for 80%) and savings (68.5%), expecting consumption substantially stable (75.5%) and prudence for travel, holidays, free time. Among the major obstacles to recovery, households point to the increase in taxes in first place, followed by that of prices and the loss of jobs, followed by the health situation and the decline in incomes. Businesses also put the increase in taxes in first place, followed by the fall in household incomes in the second and in the third by the increase in the prices of raw materials.
From these evidences, the request of the president of Confcommercio, Carlo Sangalli, according to which “uncertainty translates into less consumption and therefore less growth. This is why – he explains – it is vital that the tax reform focuses on simplification and reduction of taxes, a fundamental step, together with the effective use of the NRP, to restart the country “.