Machine tool industry around the world solidifies recovery

February 14, 2013

During 2012 machine tool manufacturers saw a leveling off of their output, which dipped 1 percent compared to 2011. Thus, they stabilized their recovery over the previous two years from the 2009 drop, when total world output fell by one-third.

The statistics are cited in the 2013 World Machine Tool Output & Consumption Survey, the annual study released by industrial publisher Gardner Business Media Inc.

According to the survey of production and trade in that class of factory equipment, a total of $93.2 billion worth of machine tools was produced globally. That is down a bit from the $94.3 billion in shipments from those same 28 countries in 2011. The total in 2010 was $68.8 billion — the start of the recovery from 2009 when output had crashed to $56.0 billion.

Among individual producing countries, China showed a slight decline in output but remains by far the largest supplier. China has been the world's biggest consumer of factory equipment since 2002, heavily relying on imports; in recent years its domestic machine-producing industry has steadily expanded to fill that local demand. Japan ranks second with no change in the amount produced from the year before. It is followed by Germany, which saw an export-driven gain. The output from those top three accounts for 64 percent of 2012's total shipments.

South Korea had almost no change, while Italy and Taiwan increased a few percentage points. The U.S. gained 7 percent, with Switzerland falling by about the same amount. Spain and Austria both had gains in 2012 output.

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