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Machine Tool Sector’s Expansion in Progress, Data Shows

Oct. 6, 2021
The mid-year report from CECIMO on machine-tool demand shows suppliers recovering well as manufacturing demand grows, driving toward a global machine-tool market of $78.9 billion for 2021.

CECIMO, the European Assn. for the Machine Tool Industries and Related Manufacturing Technologies, issued its second-quarter 2021 report on European machine-tool production, prompting the group’s president to observe that “the latest data are reassuring, showing us that our sector is on the right path to becoming stronger, and more adaptable than ever before.”

CECIMO is a consortium of machine-tool trade associations for 15 countries, representing approximately 1,500 business in Europe (EU, plus EFTA and Turkey), 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.

The data for Q2 2021 indicates that EU machine-tool production should reach €22 billion ($38.2 billion) in 2021, with an annual growth rate of around 9.4%. The consortium concludes that the sector’s overall outlook for 2021 and 2022 is positive, even though growth in the global machine tool industry remains influenced by various disruptive factors.

CECIMO forecasts that global machine-tool production will rise to about €68.6 billion ($78.9 billion) for 2021.

As the group noted in its Q1 report, 2020 results show a significant, -20% decline in global output of machine tools (from 75.3 billion euros to 60.1 billion euros) but the CECIMO countries were even more affected by this downturn, with a -26.0% drop to €20.2 billion ($23.3 billion.) Even so, companies represented by the CECIMO consortium maintained its top position (34.0% market share) in the global machine-tool sector.

EU orders for machine tools during Q1 and Q2 2021 improved significantly compared to the same period of 2020. The average domestic orders index in the first half of this year was 98% higher, while the average foreign orders index was 63.0% higher compared to the same period last year.

Based on first-half 2021 data, CECIMO countries recorded a 14% year-over-year rise in total machine-tool exports. The two highest-volume export destinations for European machine-tool builders continued to be China and the United States.

During the first half of 2021, EU machine-tool builders’ exports to China increased 4.0% the comparable period of 2020. Exports to the U.S. during that period rose approximately 21%.

CECIMO also reported that its members’ home markets increased machine-tool imports by around 8%, year over year, during the first half of 2021. Machine-tool imports from Japan decreased by -11.0%, while imports from China increased by 26.0%, compared to the first half of 2020. “Trade activity is expected to increase in the second half of the year, while CECIMO's trade balance is expected to remain strongly positive,” the group stated.

In regard to EU machine-tool demand, CECIMO referred to an Oxford Economics 2021 forecast for a total market of approximately €16.1 billion ($18.6 billion), following a forecast growth of 9.4% in 2021, 14.6% in 2022, and 6.1% in 2023 – which would return the market near to the 2019 level.

With a forecast 14.1% increase in 2021 global machine-tool consumption is expected to surpass €62 billion, and then reach the 2019 level with a 11.1% increase in 2022. All major machine-tool customer sectors show positive investment growth rates, led by the Aerospace and Motor Vehicles and Parts.

More specifically, CECIMO reported that its own recent forecasts show significant growth in total machine-tool orders is expected in the second half of 2021.

For the full year, machine-tool production is expected to grow at an annual rate of around 9.4%, to €22 billion. Noting that global machine-tool growth is predicted to be faster (+14.1%), CECIMO's share in the global machine-tool output is forecast to be around 32%.

Based on 2020 data, Germany remains the region’s foremost machine-tool exporting nation (40.4% market share), followed by Italy (17.7%) and Switzerland (11.2%.)

Notably, that the aggregate output of these three countries represents more than two thirds of the total CECIMO output.

“The latest data are reassuring, showing us that our sector is on the right path to becoming stronger and more adaptable than ever before. In that regard, the figures point out the rising confidence in our sector’s ability to recover,” according to Dr. Hans-Martin Schneeberger, president of CECIMO.

While noting that the machine-tool market continues to face potential problems – citing political uncertainty, supply chain disruptions, materials and components shortages, and rising prices, as well as the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 Delta variant – CECIMO maintained that the outlook for machine-tool builders is positive.

“The products of our machine tool builders drive other industries,” according to Marcus Burton, chairman of CECIMO’s Economic Committee. “All industries and countries will need to invest in Machine Tools to improve productivity and to support international efforts to tackle climate change.”

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