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Machine Tool Orders Decline in September

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Machine tool orders fell slightly in September on a monthly basis, the Association for Manufacturing Technology said in a monthly report.

Orders totaled $361.5 million for the month. That was down 1.1 percent from an adjusted $365.6 million in August. Typically, orders rise in September from August.

On a year-over-year basis, the comparison was tougher. September orders were down 41 percent from $616.1 million for September 2018. The year-earlier figure included sales from the 2018 edition of IMTS, the mammoth trade show in Chicago organized by AMT. IMTS is held every other year.

For the first nine months of 2019, orders totaled $3.36 billion, an 18 percent decline for the same period last year. The figures are based on information from companies participating in AMT’s U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program.

Bright Spots

There were some bright spots in the September 2019 results, AMT said.

“The automotive and aerospace sectors were higher, however, possibly due to companies looking to buy capital equipment and complete installation by year-end to take advantage of tax incentives,” Douglas K. Woods, AMT’s president, said in a statement.

“The supply chain in the automotive sector was feeling comfortable making modest investments to gear up for 2020,” Woods added. “The aerospace industry has been a stalwart in this downturn since the beginning of 2019.”

The machine tool industry enjoyed robust orders for most of 2018. Orders have slackened this year amid a U.S.-China trade war. The two nations are negotiating to ease trade tensions. In any case, AMT has said it expects business to recover in 2020.

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