USMTO and CTMR, September 2023: The US Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) programme tracks orders in the US market, based on the reports from participants in the survey. Machine tool orders in the first nine months of 2023 were -13.8% below the level in the same months of last year (January to September 2022). The 12-month rolling total – effectively an annualised rate – is now -17.2% lower than in the previous period (the 12 months to September 2022).
This marked a slight acceleration in the downward trend that has been running in machine tool orders since April 2022, but it is not all bad news. The AMT press release notes that some customer groups, including contract job shops, medical and automotive, are still investing heavily. The increase for jobs shops is coming in higher value equipment as while the value has increased by nearly one-third, the unit numbers are up by a smaller amount. From this, AMT comment that “Industries that are spending healthily on manufacturing technology appear to be shifting expenditures toward highly automated machinery as evidenced by rising per-unit values.”
The regional breakdown of the data also points to variations across the country. At one end of the scale, the North-East (-2%), South-Central (-3%) and North-Central-East (-6%) have seen a relatively small reduction in orders compared to last year; the North-Central-West (-11%) area is then in the middle ground with much more substantial falls in orders recorded in the South-East (-22%) and West (-35%) areas.
The US Cutting Tool Market Report (CTMR) tracks orders for tooling on a similar basis. This part of the US market is on a different cycle to the machinery business and has seen the annualised total rising since March 2021 as the initial impact of the pandemic dropped out of the calculations. The cumulative total for the first nine months of the year is +8.1% higher than last year (January to September 2022) and the rolling 12-month total is up by +13.4%.
Although there is no regional data for this series, the press release on the survey results notes that some regions have flattened off while others are continuing to grow – this depends largely on the key industries in those areas. The strike in the automotive industry (now resolved) will probably have an impact on the October figures and there is still the risk of a shutdown of the US government if the budget cannot be agreed but the overall outlook for the 4th quarter remains good.
You can download the press releases for the two surveys from the AMT web-site at https://www.amtonline.org/topic/intelligence, with the CTMR release also published on the USCTI web-site at www.uscti.com (go to the News Releases tab); alternatively, you can request either or both releases from MTA and we can make sure you get them when they are published each month. We have attached a set of charts tracking the rolling 12-month totals from these two surveys which you can download below.
Japanese Metal Cutting Machine Tools Orders, 3rd Quarter 2023: The Japan Machine Tool Builders Association (JMTBA) also publish monthly orders data although, in this case, it is for manufacturers rather than the market and they only cover metal cutting machine tools (there is a separate association in Japan for manufacturers of metal forming machines). However, given the relatively low import ratio in Japan, the domestic orders series will be a good guide to the market situation.
Total orders in the 3rd quarter declined by -3.0% compared to the previous quarter and were -16.1% lower than a year earlier (Q3-22). Within the total, domestic orders fell by only -0.2% quarter-on-quarter but this was -23.1% down on last year, while export demand changed by -4.3% and -12.1% respectively.
The JMTBA report gives a breakdown of the domestic orders by industry – the largest category in terms of the value of orders is industrial machinery where orders fell by -12% compared to the previous and were -20% lower than the same period last year.
There is some good news with orders from the automotive industry growing by +15% compared to the 2nd quarter but this was still -31% lower than in Q3-2022; there was a similar pattern for demand from the electrical machinery industry which saw quarter-on-quarter growth of +27% but the level was -25% lower than in the 3rd quarter of last year. The only industry where orders in the 3rd quarter of 2023 were higher than a year ago was other transport equipment (i.e. excluding the automotive industry) which saw an increase of +9% despite the quarter-on-quarter trend falling by -19%.
Analysis of export orders in the first 3 quarters of 2023 shows a fall of -13% compared to the same period last year (January to September 2022). By area, orders from Europe grew by +2%, mainly due to increases of +76% from Turkey and +45% from Switzerland – orders from the UK fell by -19%. The EU saw orders decline by -3% and demand from the USA was down by -11% – the latter was slightly off-set by increases in the much smaller markets of Canada (+11%) and Mexico (+22%). Orders for metal cutting machine tools made in Japan from the rest of Asia fell by -23% with India (+41%) the only country to see an increase in business; the weakest of the major markets was Taiwan at -49%.
You can access the JMTBA report at https://www.jmtba.or.jp/english/category/machine-tool-orders/ (November 2, 2023) or we can send you the summary of the data – contact Geoff Noon at MTA (email: [email protected]) if you want this analysis. A chart showing the 12-month rolling totals is available to download below.