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Yet again, it has been a case of light and shadow in recent months for Italy’s non-ferrous metals operators. There is a shortage of scrap on the market owing to the downturn on the LME and purchasing dynamics are becoming increasingly tight.

Positive data have come from a labour market which continues to be lively. In March, and for the third consecutive month, there was an increase in the number of people in employment (+22,000 versus February). Over the year, employment has risen by 297,000 - all permanent employees. The data show that the employed threshold has reached a peak of 23,349,000 while the employment rate (+0.9% versus 2022) remains stable at 60.9% (70.1% for men and 51.6% for women).

Positive feedback has also come from the car market: 30% growth bodes well for the near future, with encouraging forecasts for the sector up to 2024 compared to the same period of 2022 when it recorded a 33% deficit. This increase in sales is attributable above all to the unblocking of pent-up orders owing to the absence of materials production/electrical and electronic components such as microchips. Electric cars have accounted for 3.2% of all the vehicles purchased in the past 30 days - a percentage that follows the trend of the first quarter of 2023 in being equal to almost 4%.

Italy is becoming increasingly “smart”: 39% of municipalities with over 15,000 inhabitants launched at least one Smart City project (sustainability, efficiency, innovation) in 2022, or a figure of 21% if we include all of Italy’s municipalities. And such projects appear destined to proliferate in the future, with 41% of municipalities confirming their intention to invest in Smart City initiatives over the next three years whereas last year it was 33%.

With so many lights, the shadows appear less worrying.