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EU Machine Tool Builders Optimistic for Recovery

June 9, 2021
Output fell more than 25% last year, but European machine tool builders held their position atop the global industry and now expect a double-digit rebound in 2021.

CECIMO, the European Assn. for the Machine Tool Industries and Related Manufacturing Technologies, issued an optimistic outlook for the machine tools industry as the global economy recovers from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Allowing that “a return to pre-crisis levels will likely take several years, if not more,” CECIMO president Dr. Hans-Martin Schneeberger told the group’s general assembly that the machine-tool market will achieve solid growth in 2021. 

As a consortium of machine-tool trade associations for 15 countries, CECIMO represents approximately 1,500 business in Europe (EU, plus EFTA and Turkey), and 98% of the total machine-tool production in Europe and about 33% worldwide. Over 75% of CECIMO production is shipped abroad, and half of it is exported outside Europe.

“CECIMO looks to the future with positivity and hopes that our industry will come out of this crisis more resilient than ever,” Schneeberger stated.

Citing its own market research, CECIMO reported that its members' total production in 2020 decreased by 26.7% from 2019, though collectively their revenues of €19.9 billion ($24.2 billion) continued to ensure they hold the largest share 33.0% of the global machine-tool market.

Further, CECIMO’s provisional figures for Q1 2021 also are positive, as new orders for machine tools rose +5% from Q4 2020 and +7% from Q1 2019.

CECIMO also cited forecast data supplied by Oxford Economics, including an April 2021 report predicting global GDP rebounding +6.0% in 2021.

The same forecast calls for global machine-tool demand to grow +15.0% in 2021 and 7.5% in 2022. European machine-tool consumption is expected to recover to pre-crisis levels by 2022, CECIMO noted, though rising Covid-19 infection cases and new regional restrictions may delay that recovery.

In terms of machine-tool consumption, CECIMO revealed that the slowest recovery pace is expected in the aerospace industry. Oxford Economics expects business growth in the Eurozone will accelerate beginning in Q2 2021; and that Eurozone GDP will grow by 4.2% in 2021 and 4.7% in 2022.

EU regional machine-tool investments are forecast to increase by 5.0% in 2021 and 4.7% in 2022. Export volumes should grow 7.9% in 2021, and then 6.7% in 2022.

“Although we look forward to a challenging period, Europe's machine tool industry must emerge from this crisis, even stronger, technologically superior and remain a leader in the global order. We support European policy makers in building more resilient and stable supply chains to protect European manufacturing companies and call on them to support and accelerate the recovery of the most vulnerable industrial sectors,” said Marcus Burton, the chairman of CECIMO’s Economic Committee.

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