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ECONOMIC DATA THIS WEEK

International Quarterly Exchange of Orders, 3rd Quarter 2012:  This is an exchange between twelve major machine tool manufacturing nations; eight of these are in Europe (Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, France and the UK), plus Japan, USA, Taiwan and South Korea.  The indices reflect orders placed with the machine tool manufacturers in those countries rather than the demand in those countries and the chart shows the aggregate trends for the European countries and the world (all twelve countries), using seasonally adjusted data.  We are waiting for the data from Switzerland and the USA, but an estimate has been included in calculating the chart.

The pdf chart below shows that order intake for machine tool manufacturers is now in its 2nd period of post-recession decline;  business picked up at the end of 2011 and at the start of 2012, but over the middle of the year there has been another decline.  However, it is worth pointing out that the overall level remains reasonably healthy, albeit with quite q wide variation between countries.

Machine tool manufacturers in some countries (most notably Italy, Spain and Japan) have weak domestic demand, but export business is helping to maintain the overall order levels.  For others, including in this case Germany, Czech Republic and Taiwan, although a little off the peak levels, domestic orders have held up reasonably well alongside a good level for exports.

Copies of the summary charts and tables, as well as the individual country returns (which also include a breakdown of orders into home and export, a shipments index and usually at least one price index for machine tools) can be obtained via the request form.  Email is the most practical format for this document.

European Machine Tool Orders Forecast, 2nd Quarter 2012:  CECIMO commissions a forecast of orders for machine tool manufacturers which is based on data for total orders in the 8 largest countries (the data source is the exchange highlighted in the previous paragraph);  this is a single forecast and there is no breakdown of the data by country.  The main drivers of this forecast are business confidence and a mathematical projection of the data, although issues such as the situation in the euro-zone are taken into account.

The latest forecast, based on data up to the 3rd quarter of 2012 shows the moving average continues to run above the predicted trend (this picture has been in place since the start of 2011), although the actual data for the 3rd quarter is now back on the predicted path.  The outlook is for orders to be broadly flat at a good, although not excellent, level through 2013 and into the following year.

The charts and commentary of this forecast are available on request from MTA.