After growth in 2010 and 2011, the world machining industry saw losses in the last two years. In 2012, it contracted by 6.1% and by 7.8% in 2013. Early indications for 2014, however, suggest that the industry will resume growth this year. According to statistics from the Gardner Business Media 2014 World Machine Tool Output & Consumption Survey, the industry will grow more than 6% and reach a value of over $58,300 million.
“Despite contracting the last two years, China remains the world’s largest machine tool market. The U.S. remains the second largest market. Having grown two of the last three years, it has narrowed the gap with China. China eclipsed the U.S. as the number on consumer in 2009,” notes Steve Kline, Gartner Business Media Director of Marketing Intelligence.
The five top producers of machining products in the world are, in order, Germany, Japan, China, Italy, and South Korea. The U.S. ranks sixth and distributed $496.1 million worth of products last year. Germany shipped $14,687.7 million.
“Because production fell at a slightly faster but similar rate than consumption last year, supply and demand in the machine tool industry came into a better balance,” Kline also says. “Therefore, by the end of 2013, machine tool prices were improving from what they were one year ago, at least in the U.S.”
The U.S. market grew substantially in December alone last year. Stats from the 2013 Association for Manufacturing Technology U.S. Machine Tools order show that American machine shops and manufacturers spent $489.91 million on tools and related technology during the month. The big month brought total spending for the year to $4.94 billion, a 5.1% decrease from the year before.
But though 2013 turned to be a down year for both buying and producing machining tools and equipment, the successful December could help springboard a successful 2014.
“With a strong finish to 2013 for manufacturing technology orders, plus strong reports for durable goods, capacity utilization, and PMI, there is plenty of favorable momentum for the industry going into 2014,” said AMT President Douglas K. Woods.