Manufacturing contraction lower than expected at 3.9%, driven by 1.9% growth in China
- Korea also leading the pack, but Germany falters
- Rubber and plastics machinery sector gains new significance in the light of the pandemic
- Semiconductors and electronics machinery sector emerges virtually unscathed
Market numbers and analysis from Interact Analysis are the ones I prefer. I’ve discussed methodology with executives and remain impressed with the rigor. Plus, they work with ITR Economics, a firm I’ve worked with (and miss reading Alan Beaulieu’s monthly column I sourced for another magazine). 2020 was a tough year everywhere but manufacturing for the most part surprisingly maintained output.
The latest quarterly update to the Manufacturing Industry Output (MIO) Tracker from Interact Analysis reveals unexpectedly strong overall global manufacturing performance.This is an upward revision on the previous MIO updates. At our most pessimistic point, we forecast a -4% contraction in industrial output for China. But the country’s rigorous suppression of the virus meant that production was back on track by May 2020, and the region is now posting 1.9% growth.
The Chinese recovery has had a significant impact on global growth, but it still represents considerable overall lost growth, putting China among the four global loss-leaders, along with India, Japan, and the USA, who have together racked up in excess of $200bn in lost MIO potential. Korea’s track-and-trace strategy has been hugely effective, and the country has seen strong growth in the electronics and components sectors resulting in overall negative growth of only -2.4% for 2020.
In Europe, Germany’s economy in particular has suffered, and recovery will be sluggish. Key factors here are the country’s huge reliance on export markets in Eastern Europe and globally, notably in the automotive and metals sectors which have both fared badly in the pandemic.
Where industrial machinery is concerned, one of the biggest casualties globally has been the machine tools sector, which has been hit hard by the major slow-down in the transportation industries. In Germany, machine tools is down 30% and this is reflected in weak performance in other European countries too, such as the UK where we also predict the machine tools market to be down over 30%. And Europe is not alone: few of the major regions are likely to return to 2019 levels in the next 6 years.
COVID-19 has driven, and will continue to drive, the demand for plastic and rubber medical supplies and personal protective equipment. However, the rubber and plastics machinery sector did experience a decline in demand in 2020 with Korea, India and the UK seeing contractions of the order of -15.8%, -13.9% and -13.4% respectively. However, all the top 10 regions are expected to recover to 2019 levels by 2023 at the latest. Strong APAC performance will bolster a growth that will see production values rise from $49.6bn in 2020 to $53.4bn in 2021.
Adrian Lloyd, CEO at Interact Analysis, says: “The semiconductor and electronics machinery sector is one of the few sectors to have come through the pandemic untouched. Most major regions are forecast to grow past 2019 levels in 2020, with global growth forecast at 9.9%. The few who don’t will be back up and running at a stronger level than 2019 by 2021. Growth will likely be slightly slower in 2022 and 2023 but will remain positive. APAC is the leading producer of semiconductor and electronics machinery. We forecast a 5-year CAGR for Korea of 9.1%. It’s a good sector to be in. But some regions really need to play catch-up.”
Our team of analysts works in close conjunction with ITR Economics, a renowned and reliable team of economists who help inform our macroeconomics forecasts. Our rigorous data collection, some of it anonymised confidential material from individual manufacturers and end-users gathered during hours of interviews either face to face or by phone, and some of it gleaned from the public domain, notably government policy and financial documents, means we have significant monthly data to pull on. With almost a full year’s worth of indicators available, it allows us to test our forecast of several scenarios and predict the overall yearly growth for 2020 and beyond more accurately.
Interact Analysis is an international provider of market research for the Intelligent Automation sector. Our team of experienced industry analysts delivers research into three core sectors: industrial automation, robotics and warehouse automation, and commercial vehicles. Intelligent Automation – which is the integration of artificial intelligence and automation – will change virtually every industry imaginable. This combination enables greater efficiencies, productivity, convenience, and scale. It has the potential to drastically alter the outlook for many traditional industries such as manufacturing, healthcare and automotive as well as to lead to the emergence of entirely new industries.