Economic News Blog
Posted by: Steven Kline, Jr. 16. January 2014

Machine Tool Unit Sales Up 1.6% in November 2013

According to USMTO, machine tool sales in November were 2,218 units and $429,538,000 in real dollars. Unit sales in November were 1.6% higher than they were last November. This is the sixth time in seven months that unit sales have increased month over month. The annual rate of change in units was unchanged from last month. Therefore, units continue to contract at a modest rate annually. Based on my current forecast, the annual rate of change will remain in this modest rate of contraction through the first quarter of 2014. Then, it will start to slowly improve.

Real dollar sales made a significant jump in November though. November was the highest level of dollar sales since March 2013. Dollar sales were 22.7% higher than they were last November. This was the first month of month-over-month growth in real dollar sales since May 2013. And, it was the fastest rate of growth in real dollar sales since February 2012. Therefore, the annual rate of change contracted at a slower rate for the first time since November 2012. It appears that the annual rate of change may have hit its bottom. 

With dramatic increase in dollar sales compared to unit sales, the average price of a machine jumped to $194,000, which is the highest average price since March 2013. The average price of a machine was 20.7% higher than it was one year ago. This is the first time the average price of a machine has improved since March 2013. This is a sign that supply and demand are coming into a better balance.

My revised forecast was too low by 6.5%. My original forecast was for machine tool sales to pick up in the second half of the year. Perhaps that is starting to happen as my revised forecast was too high by just 2.6%. For the year, my original forecast is too high by 7.3%.

Many of the leading indicators for machine tool sales are pointing towards stronger sales in 2014. You can find more on machine tool sales and the leading indicators on our metalworking page.

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