March US Cutting Tool Orders Tick Up from Feb., Down YoY as Pandemic Set In

Year-to-date orders were down 9% through March and are expected to worsen as Q2 shows the full impact of COVID-19.

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March 2020 US. cutting tool consumption totaled $189.8 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 up 0.9 percent from February's $188.2 million and down 9.8 percent when compared with the $210.4 million reported for March 2019. With a year-to-date total of $574.5 million, 2020 is down 9 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 US market for cutting tools. 

According to Brad Lawton, Chairman of AMT’s Cutting Tool Product Group, “The cutting tool industry has followed the 2019 trend line during the first quarter of 2020. However, it is anticipated that the second and third quarter of 2020 will show the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with recovery extending into 2021.” 

“Since the pandemic began, cutting tool orders continued to contract on the same trend line as prior to the pandemic. This will likely continue for a few more months," said Steve Kline Jr., director of market intelligence at Gardner Business Media. "However, there are indications that capacity utilization in the metalworking industry has bottomed and begun to slowly trend up. Further, a survey we conducted that manufacturers’ number one priority over the next six months is to invest in their business to prepare for a surge in orders and expand their product mix, which should help cutting tool orders."

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.

Historical data for the Cutting Tool Market Report is available dating back to January 2012. This collaboration of AMT and USCTI is the first step in the two associations working together to promote and support US-based manufacturers of cutting tool technology. 

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. 


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