Machine tool orders slipped in December on both a monthly and year-over-year basis but posted a full-year 2018 gain of more than 19 percent, the Association for Manufacturing Technology said today.
Orders totaled $443.22 million in December, the McLean, Va.-based group said in a monthly report. That was down from 2.1 percent from an adjusted $452.77 million in November. It was also a 5.8 percent decline from the $470.55 million in December 2017.
The December results brought down the full-year 2018 gain, which had been running at a pace of more than 20 percent. Orders totaled $5.45 billion for the year, up 19.4 percent from 2017’s $4.57 billion.
The figures are based on information from companies participating in AMT’s U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) program.
AMT said the December results marked only the fourth time in 23 years without a November-to-December gain.
AMT officials hailed the 2018 increase while expressing some concern for the future.
“We finished a fantastic run-up” in orders, Douglas K. Woods, AMT’s president, said in a statement. Most analysts, he said, are “looking for good growth in units and modest growth in revenue for 2019.”
One major uncertainty for 2019 is trade. The U.S. and China currently have paused a trade war. But the two sides haven’t reached agreement on their differences. As a result, the trade war may resume.
“While our market looks healthy now, there are concerns that trade issues and slower manufacturing technology markets abroad will create headwinds in the U.S. later in the year,” Woods said.