Machine tools are human capital-intensive investment goods with a high value-added and know-how input. Because the industry is positioned at the beginning of the industrial supply chain, it is exposed to high volatility compared to the general industry trends. The European machine tool industry has shown stable production levels during the last seven years. CECIMO’s machine tool builders are expecting to reach a production volume of 24.4 billion euro in 2017, equivalent to a 1.9% annual increase compared to 2016. Last year’s production numbers were capped by more moderate output of many important machine tool producing countries. In the context of a global drop of production from 67.9 to 67.2 billion euro, CECIMO countries showed resilience. As a result, CECIMO machine tool producers have kept their global market share slightly above 35% for the last 3 years. Moreover, our members expect to increase their production levels in 2018. Germany stands firmly in its MT producer leadership position, securing 46.4% of the CECIMO MT production, followed by Italy and Switzerland, with 21% and 11%, respectively.
European producers are focused on high-end, customized machines with relatively longer production cycles, as opposed to standard machines with short lead times.The European machine tool industry is the leader on the global market with a highly innovative, diversified and precise offer. Our client base spans across the globe and is active in many industrial sectors, including automotive, aerospace, construction, medical and electronics, to mention a few.
CECIMO based companies exported 18.3 billion euro worth machine tools, mainly to China (14.9%) and US (10.5%), although, the trade within CECIMO countries remains the most important – 41.5% of our exports are directed to CECIMO countries. In 2017, the export figures are expected to reach 19 billion euro, regardless the uncertainties around the US protectionist trade policies. Likewise, the 2018 indications for MT exports are positive.
The Continent’s machine tool consumption is expected to raise at 16.9 billion euro in 2017, slightly above last year’s levels (16.3 billion being attributed to CECIMO countries). It would mark an important increase of 5.6% compared to 2016, in line with the upward world consumption trend. Chinese consumption, on the other hand, is likely to moderately increase from 25 billion euro in 2016 to 25.3 billion in 2017, as the Chinese growth acceleration is fading out. the consumption forecasts for 2018 equally suggest an increase of MT demand, notably a 4.1% raise for Europe and 3.6% for Asia and the world. Investments in modern machine tools are fuelled by investment tax incentives in certain countries and the trend towards digital manufacturing, which requires a state-of-the-art machine population.