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Global machine tool industry poised for growth in 2014

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More than 2,100 manufacturers from 43 countries are showcasing innovative production technology at EMO Hannover until 21 September. 

Featuring the theme of ‘Intelligence in Production’, EMO Hannover offers one of the world’s biggest and most important platforms for innovations in metalworking. 

Speaking at the opening press conference for EMO in Hannover, Martin Kapp, Chairman of the industry association VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association), which organises the event said that things are expected to pick up in the international market in 2014.

This confidence is backed by recent forecasts on global economic growth and industrial production, as well as predictions by British business analysts at Oxford Economics that the level of investment in key user sectors such as the automobile and automotive supply industries, mechanical engineering, metal production, processing and metalworking, electrical engineering and electronics, fine mechanics and optics, medical technology as well as the aerospace, railway vehicle and shipbuilding industries is likely to grow by 6.5 percent worldwide in 2013, and almost twice that figure in 2014 at 12.7 percent. 

International machine tool sales break one record after another

This positive trend can be seen in the worldwide sales of machine tools with a growth of two percent expected in the current year, which would bring sales up to approx. 68 billion euros – the highest level ever recorded in this sector. 

Growth has been registered in all of the top ten markets with sales being driven by China, South Korea and Taiwan in Asia, and also increasing in other regions of the world such as the USA, Mexico and Russia.

German machine tool production stagnating in 2013 

One of the big players on the international machine tool scene, Germany has a strong influence on trends in the international machine tool trade. Last year, German companies produced machines and services valued at 14.2 billion euros, representing growth of 10 percent and matching the pre-crisis level of 2008. While the industry is confident that the good results of the previous year can be maintained, for this to happen, orders in the second half of 2013 need to be higher than in the first six months. Compared to the record number of orders received in 2011 there has been a clear drop in demand. The total number of orders was down by 13 percent in the first half year – domestic orders fell by 19 percent, while orders from foreign customers dropped by 9 percent. 

Nonetheless, the situation regarding the level of orders has stabilised recently with growth driven by orders from Russia, South Korea, Brazil and Mexico, along with the United Kingdom, Austria and Italy. July 2013 also saw domestic orders go into positive figures again for the first time in 17 months. There are also positive signs that the main user industries in Germany will be investing more in 2014. 

Accordingly, the Ifo business climate index has registered an upward trend in the German capital goods sector. Similar results were recorded for the purchasing manager index, which showed the Euro area headed by Germany, moving back into growth for the first time in two years. 

German President Gauck calls for reliable conditions for SMEs

In his address to an invited audience of more than 800 representatives from around the world after officially opening the event, German President Joachim Gauck stressed the importance of small and medium-sized companies, praising their flexibility, drive and innovativeness. Gauck condemned protectionism, unfair trading practices and product piracy, saying there was a need for international agreements in this area. Gauck also encouraged companies to step up investment activities in Germany and Europe while appealing to the business community to play an active role in building it as a base.

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