Machine tool orders fell slightly in February on a monthly basis but posted a solid gain from a year earlier.
Orders totaled $354.44 million in February, down 4.5% from an adjusted $371.15 million the month before, the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT; McLean, VA) said in a monthly report.
However, the February results represented a 14% increase from February 2017’s $311.38 million, according to the report.
For 2018’s first two months, orders totaled $725.59 million, a 27 percent gain from the same period last year, AMT said.
“Our member companies push their limits to keep pace with the market’s expansion,” Pat McGibbon, an AMT vice president, said in a statement.
The figures for machine tool orders are based on information from companies participating in AMT’s US Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program.
McGibbon said future orders may be affected by rising trade tensions between the United States and China.
“AMT supports free and fair trade,” McGibbon said. “But recent trade issues with several of our major trading partners including China, the world’s largest consumer of manufacturing tech, will make harvesting the benefits of this boom market more challenging.”
The two countries have announced plans to slap new tariffs on each other’s products, beginning with US tariffs on steel and aluminum implemented last month. China has responded by saying it will put tariffs on a variety of US products, including aircraft, automobiles and soybeans. The moves have stirred fears of a trade war that may drag on the economy.