July 2013 Machine Tool Sales Up for Third Month
According to USMTO, machine tool sales in July were 1,937 units and $341,191,000 in real dollars. Unit sales in July 2013 were 1.6% higher than they were in July 2012. After three straight months of month-over-month contraction, machine tool unit sales have grown the last three months. The annual rate of change has grown just slightly the last two months. My revised forecast for July was for 1,925 units. This was too low by just 0.6%. However, my original year to date forecast is too high by 10.7%. My revised forecast for the second half of 2013 is somewhat lower than my original forecast. Based on July, this appears to be correct. My revised second half forecast has unit sales down 5.3% in 2013.
Real dollar sales contracted month-over-month for the 12th time in 14 motnhs. The month-over-month rate of contraction in July was the third highest of that stretch. So, while unit sales continue to hang in there, real dollar sales continue to contract. Annually, the average price of a machine has contracted at a faster rate each of the last three months.
Durable goods production is still growing at a significant rate, but the rate of growth has been slowing down. This generally points toward slower machine tool sales. A positive sign for machine tool sales is that the annual rate of change in the metalworking business index appears to have bottomed out. According to our business index, spending per plant is still growing but at a slower rate. A final positive sign is that broad dollar exchange rate continues to grow more slowly.
You can find more on machine tool sales and the leading indicators on our metalworking page.
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