World of Tooling – Spotlight Italy, Spain and Portugal

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The Spanish economy and the industry

In terms of its gross domestic product (GDP), Spain takes the 18th position in the world. The GDP per capita in 2015 was €31,513. Spain was affected by recession; its economy has shrunk by an average of 0.6% every year since 2010. However, in 2014, Spain achieved a growth level of 1.4%, which is expected to increase to 2.8% in 2016. Therefore, the economic outlook is positive. The country exported goods worth around €247bn in 2015. Spain continued to export goods during the recession, and in 2013 the foreign trade balance was positive for the first time since 1986. Tourism contributes considerably to the Spanish economy and in 2010, Spain was the fourth-most popular travel destination worldwide. The Portuguese economy and the industry. In terms of GDP, Portugal is the 43rd-largest economy in the world. The GDP per capita in 2015 was at €25,202. By comparison, the German GDP per capita in 2015 was €42,447. In the 1990s, Portugal’s economy grew largely on the basis of debt financing, with a simultaneous decrease in export performance. The financial and economic crisis caused a recession that lasted for several years. This period was characterised by a high rate of unemployment and a considerable increase of public debt. In the last four years, the economy has shrunk by 1.6% per year.

However, profound structural reforms helped to stabilise the economy and to improve competitiveness, which in turn helped to restore the export capability of the country. After many years, a moderate economic growth of 0.9% was realised in 2014. In 2016, the growth rate is predicted to rise to 1.8%. The reforms are still insufficient and the positive trend of the Portuguese economy is confronted with problems resulting from weak competition in service sectors, energy supply, missing market mechanisms on the labor market and high corporate taxes. The weakened economy is characterised by an extremely high rate of unemployment (13.5%) and youth unemployment (34.8%). The three most important export goods are supply parts for the automotive industry, machines and metals.

Italian tool manufacturing and the tools

Italy has one of the largest tool and die industries worldwide and the second-largest in Europe. In 2013, tools worth €1.853m were produced. This value rose by approximately 26% from €1.702m in 2010. In 2013, tools worth €1.158m weighing 18,942 tons in total were exported, of which €268m were solid and sheet metal-forming tools, €691m injection moulds and €198m die casting moulds. At the same time, Italy imported tools worth €365m, of which €256m were injection moulds, €57m solid and sheet metal-forming tools and €52m die-casting moulds. The Italian trade of tools with foreign markets in 2014 is illustrated in Figure 4. The largest trade partners for importing injection moulds are Germany, China and the Czech Republic. Injection moulds are mostly exported to Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland. Germany imports almost three times as much as the Czech Republic.
The largest trade partners for importing sheet metal and massive forming tools are Germany, France and Austria, while they are exported mainly to Germany, Austria and France. Italy’s tool and die industry is predominantly located in the northern part and suffered during the economic crisis. It has been unable to regain its earlier levels of growth. Italy was well positioned in international market comparison within the sector of large sheet metal-forming tools. As of 2014 and the first half of 2015, reputable manufacturers had to report insolvency. Italy has experience in tool and die manufacturing. Therefore, it is capable of producing tools and dies with good quality and complexity with an above-average market size. However, the future outlook for the Italian tooling industry remains low.