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Machine Tool Orders Slip on Monthly Basis in July, Post Gain Year-Over-Year

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Machine tool orders fell slightly on a monthly basis in July but posted a solid gain compared with a year earlier.

Sales totaled $399.34 million, down 3% from an adjusted $411.85 million in June, the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT; McLean, VA) said in a monthly report.

The July figure, however, represented a 20% increase from $333.56 million in July 2017, AMT said.

“The current growth rate in manufacturing technology orders is outstanding in the face of market uncertainty due to trade tensions,” Douglas K. Woods, AMT’s president, said in a statement. “This unusual strength during the summer months reflects the market’s confidence in the continued growth in manufacturing.”

The United States, under the administration of President Donald Trump, is in the midst of a trade war with China. Also, there is continuing uncertainty about the North American Free Trade Agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Trump last month announced a tentative trade deal with Mexico. Talks are underway with Canada whether that country can be included, in effect creating a new NAFTA.

For the first seven months of 2018, machine tool orders totaled $2.95 billion. That’s a 22% gain from the $2.41 billion posted during the same period last year.

Widespread Gains

AMT said in its statement that year-over-year order increases “has been significant for all technologies” with precision machines such as EDMs, metrology and laser equipment having “better than average growth.”

The figures are based on information from companies participating in AMT’s U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program.

The machine tool industry has enjoyed a sustained economic recovery since the spring of 2017. Sales will get a boost with the mammoth IMTS trade show that begins today in Chicago. AMT organizes the show, which is held every other year.

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