U.S. machine tool orders in December closed 2013 on a high note with a monthly volume of $492 million, but cutting tool consumption fell 11.7 percent to $138 million and for the second straight month. The data were reported by AMT – The Association For Manufacturing through its U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) report and the Cutting Tool Market Report (CTMR) it jointly publishes with the United States Cutting Tool Institute.
December was the highest monthly total in all of 2013 for metal cutting and metal forming and fabricating machinery orders and the highest in nine months. Bookings jumped 9.9 percent compared with November and 11.8 percent with the same month in 2012. It was also the fifth consecutive month of orders growth.
“With a strong finish to 2013 for manufacturing technology orders, plus strong reports for durable goods, capacity utilization, and [purchasing managers index], there is plenty of favorable momentum for the industry going into 2014,” said Doug Woods, AMT’s president. “The average age of corporate fixed assets is at almost 22 years, and interest rates are historically low. This one-two punch is creating a ripe atmosphere for investment in capital equipment, which we anticipate will translate into more great news for manufacturing growth.”
As expected, however, the 2013 annual total orders of $4.94 billion fell 5.1 percent shy of 2012′s volume of $5.21 billion. Meanwhile, shipments of cutting tools continued to drop from the year’s high-water mark of $176 million in October. Barring the October spike, cutting tool usage was mostly flat for all of 2013, which finished with $2.03 billion in shipments, down 3.9 percent from 2012.
“Clearly the numbers are indicative of an economy that has been struggling throughout the year,” said Tom Haag, USCTI’s president. “December was further inhibited by the holidays in mid-week, creating a very short month in terms of business days. Forecasts for 2014 indicate growth for the industry, which we anticipate with confidence.”
The USCTI report, which gets its data from companies participating in the monthly survey, is said to represent 80 percent of the total U.S. market for cutting tools.
Following is the regional breakdown in manufacturing technology orders in December:
Total: $65.47 million
Change from November: -13.5 percent
Change from December 2012: -2.5 percent
Year-end total: $808.79 million
Change from 2012: 4.7 percent
Total: $45.46 million
Change from December 2012: -20.7 percent
Year-end total: $452.20 million
Change from 2012: -16.7 percent
North Central-East Region
Total: $138.82 million
Change from November: 11.3 percent
Change from December 2012: 37.8 percent
Year-end total: $1.29 billion
Change from 2012: -3.0 percent
North Central-West Region
Year-end total: $924.26 million
Change from 2012: -10.1 percent
South Central Region
Year-end total: $749.06 million
Change from 2012: -13.2 percent
Year-end total: $718.37 million
Change from 2012: 6.6 percent