Gardner Intelligence Blog

February Machine Tool Order Growth Fastest Since September 2018

February machine tool orders were 1,969 units and $363,793,000.

Unit orders in February increased 31.0% compared with one year ago, marking the fifth month of growth in the last six months. February’s month-over-month rate of growth was the fastest since September 2018. As a result, the annual rate of contraction decelerated for the seventh straight month to its slowest rate of contraction, -5.3%, since August 2019.

Durable Goods New Orders Grew for Fourth Consecutive Month

New orders for real durable goods totaled $244,515 million in February 2021. February’s orders were just 0.5% more than one year ago; however, February was the fourth straight month of month-over-month growth in durable good new orders. The result was that the annual rate of change contracted 7.6%, which was a slightly faster rate of contraction than January. 

Notable results from key industries or segments include:

The 2020 World Machine Tool Survey Shows Machine Tool Downturn Continued

In 2020, global machine tool consumption was $66.8 billion, which was down 20.1% from 2019. And, global production was $68.0 billion, which was down 19.9%. Both of these totals were the lowest since 2009. However, the 2009 low was reached after just one year of decline while it took two years to reach the current levels in 2020 from similar levels in 2018 and 2008.

Rankings of top machine tool consumers and producers generally remained unchanged in 2020 from 2019, although the U.S. did move up one spot in machine tool production, becoming the third largest machine tool producer in the world. The U.S. also increased its global share of machine tool consumption to 12.5%, which was its highest percent of global machine tool consumption since 2001. The U.S.’s share of global machine tool consumption increased for the fourth straight year.

March 2021 GBI: 63.2

Concerns Over A Business Activity Whiplash Grow

Ending March at an all-time high reading of 63.2, it seems hard to believe that business activity has expanded over the last eight consecutive months at such a rapid rate.  This latest all-time high places all previous high readings distantly in the rearview mirror.  A 4-point increase in export activity not only drove export activity into expansionary territory for the first time since 2018, but also resulted in an all-time high reading.  Of the six measures which constitute the Gardner Business Index, supplier deliveries, new orders, backlogs and exports all registered all-time high readings.  Lagging only slightly behind these was production activity which narrowly fell short of breaking its own all-time high. 

February Monetary Base Growth Fastest since May 2020

February Monetary Base Growth Fastest since May 2020

In February, the monetary base was $5.447 trillion, which was an increase from the previous month and the highest level ever. Compared with one year ago, February’s monetary base was up 57.7%, which was the sixth month in a row and eighth in the last 10 months with faster than 50% growth. Also, February was the fastest rate of growth since May 2020 and the second-fastest since October 2009. The accelerating rate of growth was likely a result of the latest round of stimulus checks. This was the 11th consecutive month that the month-over-month rate of change was faster than 44%. And February was the 15th month in a row of month-over-month growth. 

The annual rate of growth accelerated to 48.6% in February, which was the 11th straight month of accelerating growth and the fastest rate of growth since April 2010. Based on the monthly and quarterly trends in the money supply, the annual rate of change will continue to accelerate for the first half of 2021.


Top Shops

‘Top Shops’ is a benchmarking and recognition program designed to help shops build their business.

World Machine Tool Survey

An independent annual survey that collects statistics from machine tool consuming and producing countries and compares them in real U.S. dollars.

Capital Spending Survey

An annual survey that collects statistics regarding budgeted spending on machine tools, testing equipment, software and more.

Gardner Business Index

A diffusion index measuring month-to-month changes in activity at durable goods and discrete parts manufacturing facilities.