European Machinery Industry: Export Trends in H1-2020

Strongly penalized in Q2 (-21% YoY in EUR values), in H1-2020 EU machinery exports fell by 16%.

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According to estimates made by StudiaBo based on the latest Eurostat data1, the first six months of 2020 showed a drop of almost 16 percentage points for European exports of Machinery.


As feared, due to the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic and the introduction of drastic security measures (lockdown, first and foremost) in major Western economies, the second quarter of the year saw an acceleration of the fall in European exports of the sector, which contracted by 21% year-over-year (YoY) in EUR; this reduction amounted to more than €5.7 billion, which adds up to the €2.5 billion contraction recorded in the first quarter.

It should also be pointed out that the current phase of fall in European machinery exports appears, so far, less intense compared to the one experienced in 2008-2009, when exports dropped for 7 consecutive quarters (YoY), with an overall reduction of almost 40% in EUR values.

Fall in the most recent quarter for all sectors of machinery

EU Exports of Machinery: YoY trends in EUR
Jan-Jun 2020 Q1-2020 Q2-2020
Sector change delta (m€) change delta (m€) change delta (m€)
Paper-making mach. -12.3% -206 -8.1% -64 -16.0% -142
Printing machines -21.9% -358 -17.6% -149 -26.4% -209
Packaging machines -10.3% -587 -2.3% -59 -17.1% -528
Metal Processing m. -26.0% -633 -15.2% -168 -35.1% -465
Extrusion machines -20.5% -736 -19.7% -350 -21.3% -386
M.tools for hard mater. -24.1% -747 -18.9% -285 -29.1% -463
Textile machines -25.8% -920 -17.2% -308 -34.4% -612
Food machines -12.7% -936 -3.8% -130 -20.4% -806
Metalworking m.tools -10.8% -1 313 -11.5% -685 -10.1% -627
Other special purpose m. -15.8% -1 817 -5.8% -327 -25.2% -1 489
Total Machinery -15.7% -8 252 -9.9% -2 524 -21.0% -5 727
Source: ExportPlanning - EU Countries Datamart

As documented in the table above, Q2-2020 showed significant downturns even for those sectors - such as packaging machines2 and food machines3 - which, at the beginning of the year, had been more sheltered from recessionary winds.

In the most recent period, sectors such as machine tools for hard materials4 (-29.1% YoY in EUR, in Q2-2020), machines for metalworking5 (-35.1%) and textile machines6 (-34.4%) report the biggest setbacks; in particular, for textile machines Q2-2020 proves to be the seventh consecutive quarter of YoY contractions in European exports.

Extrusion machines7 and metalworking machine tools8 confirm falls similar to those experienced in the first quarter: the former fell by 21. 3% in the most recent quarter, after -20% in Q1; as far as the latter is concerned, after the April fall (-24.6% YoY), the most recent months show decidedly more contained falls for European machine tool exports.

Prospect of a faster recovery than 2008-2009?

International trade data for the coming months (starting with data for July and, more generally, Q3) will be particularly informative on the ways in which the demand for investment in machinery9 is emerging from the crisis.


(1) See in this regard, in the Analytics section of ExportPlanning, the related EU Countries Datamart.
(2) For a list of the products considered in this analysis, please refer to the following description.
(3) For a list of the products considered in this analysis, please refer to the following description.
(4) For a list of the products considered in this analysis, please refer to the following description.
(5) For a list of the products considered in this analysis, please refer to the following description.
(6) For a list of the products considered in this analysis, please refer to the following description.
(7) For a list of the products considered in this analysis, please refer to the following description.
(8) For a list of the products considered in this analysis, please refer to the following description.
(9) For a review of global demand in the sector, please refer to the article "The Global Crisis of Investment Goods".