Pre-Pandemic, Feb. US Cutting Tool Consumption Fell 8.5% YoY

Economists say cutting tool shipments are set to face a challenging 2020 after a year of consolidation in 2019.

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February 2020 U.S. cutting tool consumption totaled $188.2 million, according to the US Cutting Tool Institute (USCTI) and the Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT). This total, as reported by companies participating in the Cutting Tool Market Report collaboration, was down 4.2 percent from January's $196.5 million and down 8.5 percent year-over-year (YoY) when compared with the $205.6 million reported for February 2019. With a year-to-date total of $384.7 million, 2020 is down 8.5 percent when compared with 2019.

These numbers and all data in this report are based on the totals reported by the companies participating in the CTMR program. The totals here represent the majority of the U.S. market for cutting tools.

“The most recently-released February cutting tool statistics reflect the modest slowing we began to see in the latter part of 2019,” said Bret Tayne, president of USCTI. “But these numbers precede the effects of the COVID-19 fallout. I suspect we have all experienced a much steeper drop over the past several weeks. Buckle your seat belts!”

“Following a year of consolidation in 2019, cutting tool shipments are set to face a challenging 2020,” said Greg Daco, chief US economist for Oxford Economics USA. “The 8.5 percent YoY decline in cutting tool shipments in February is slightly worse than the 2.4 percent YoY drop in total durable goods shipments. With the economy facing a coronavirus-induced recession, the outlook through the summer will be challenging. A stronger dollar, reduced international demand and higher corporate spreads will likely add to the sectoral headwinds. However, a gradual relaxation of lockdown measures in the latter part of 2020, along with unprecedented fiscal and monetary policy stimulus should help progressively support activity in 2021.”

The Cutting Tool Market Report is jointly compiled by AMT and USCTI, two trade associations representing the development, production and distribution of cutting tool technology and products. It provides a monthly statement on US manufacturers’ consumption of the primary consumable in the manufacturing process – the cutting tool. Analysis of cutting tool consumption is a leading indicator of both upturns and downturns in US manufacturing activity, as it is a true measure of actual production levels.

The graph below includes the 12-month moving average for the durable goods shipments and cutting tool orders. These values are calculated by taking the average of the most recent 12 months and plotting them over time.

USCTI and AMT

USCTI and AMT

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