World machine sales decreases slightly in 2016

Gina Sanders | Fotolia

Last year, political crises and economic uncertainties all around the world left their mark on mechanical engineering worldwide.

  • Decrease by a nominal 1 percent to 2,530 billion euros
  • Germany ranks third in comparison with other countries
  • Exchange rates noticeably impact the result

Last year, political crises and economic uncertainties all around the world left their mark on mechanical engineering worldwide. According to initial estimates by VDMA economists, global machine sales (without services) dropped by a nominal 1 percent to 2,530 billion euros in 2016. However, the result was also strongly influenced by exchange rate effects; when adjusted for prices and exchange rates, world machine sales showed a small increase in sales by 1 percent.

Last year, Germany maintained its position as the third-largest machine producer with a nominal turnover of 262 billion euros (plus 1 percent compared to the previous year), which amounted to around 10 percent of worldwide machine sales. (All companies, including those with less than 50 employees, served as a basis for the calculation.) “The investment propensity stagnated in nearly all parts of the world last year. Consumption and construction activities were the two main drivers of the gross domestic product in many countries around the globe,” is the analysis of VDMA Chief Economist, Dr. Ralph Wiechers.

China maintained its leading position in the country ranking by a clear margin, remaining the world's largest machine manufacturer in 2016. An overall turnover of 964 billion euros, however, marks a decline by 2 percent compared to the previous year. Just as in the previous year, the USA held second place with an even stronger decline in turnover (minus 4 percent) to a total of 335 billion euros. Among the top ten of the largest machine manufacturers, Japan (4th) showed particularly strong growth with an increase in sales by 11 percent to 238 billion euros, while Great Britain (9th) recorded a considerably decline in sales (minus 9 percent to 38 billion euros). Changes in the exchange rates had a considerable influence on these results. While the value of the Yen rose by about 12 percent last year, the British pound lost about 11 percent.

The three large economic blocks showed no shift last year. Asia remained the largest region by a clear margin (equivalent to 1,395 billion euros, the year before: 1,390 billion euros). More than half of the total global machine turnover was generated there. Trailing by a considerable margin, Europe came in second (minus 1 percent to 722 billion euros), ahead of North America (minus 5 percent to 360 billion euros).

Do you have any questions? Anke Uhlig, VDMA Economic and Statistic Affairs, phone: +49 69 6603 1388, anke.uhlig@vdma.org, will be delighted to answer them.

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