Economic News Blog
Posted by: Steven Kline, Jr. 9. November 2015

Machine Tool Orders Contract for 5th Month

In September, machine tool sales were 1,750 units and $315,067,000. That orders were down significantly from last September is no surprise since last September was IMTS. And, last September was an absolutely fantastic month for machine tool orders. So, the comparison was always going to be tough.

This was the third fewest units sold in a single month since since February 2011. Compared with one year ago, unit orders contracted 48.6 percent, which was worst non-IMTS September decline since 2009 and second worst since 2001. This was the fifth month in a row and the seventh in the last nine months that unit orders contracted. The annual rate of change was -10.1 percent, which was the first month of contraction since Feburary 2014. I expect machine tool orders to end the year down 14.0 percent.

Dollar sales were up compared with July and August. They were down 50.7 percent compared with last September. This was the second worst non-IMTS decline since USMTO data began in 1996. The annual rate of contraction accelerated to 13.7 percent, which is the fourth month in a row and sixth time in the last seven months that the annual rate of change contracted.

Almost all leading indicators (real disposable income is the notable exception) are moving in a direction that point toward a typical contraction in the machine tool market. 

The Southeast region continued to perform significantly better than other regions. Unit sales have been above average every month but two since February 2014. And, unit prices have been significantly above average the last three months.

The rate of contraction in the South Central got even worse in September. Unit sales the last two months have close to 50 percent of the historical average for this region.

You can find more on machine tool sales and the leading indicators on our metalworking and monetary pages.

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