The 290 reporting companies posted further growth of 11.1% in foreign sales in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the prior-year period, while domestic sales rose by 8.4%. The extremely healthy level of orders in hand from 2007 helped to drive total sales up by 10.6%. Capacity utilization remained high at 91%.
New orders fell slightly by 4.4%, with foreign orders declining less than domestic orders (-2.3% and -11.9% respectively). A two-year comparison shows that order intake is still high; the index for the first quarter of 2008 exceeded the 2006 figure by 11.7%.
Slight increase in exports to the EU
Exports in the first three months of the current year increased by 2.5% in relation to the prior-year period. Growth in the Asian market was better than average at 6.6%, while the European market grew at a modest 2.2% and North America declined by 1.1%. A 5.6% rise was achieved in the key market of Germany, and growth in China – the seventh-biggest national market – reached an impressive 27.5%.
Strong demand in electrical engineering and electronics
Looking at sales by key groups, electrical engineering and electronics performed particularly well with a 7.3% increase. Mechanical engineering (5.3%), metals and metal products (2.1%) and precision instruments (0.9%) reported lower sales figures. Growth rates varied considerably between the subsectors that make up the mechanical engineering sector. Although printing machinery (-14.5%) failed to equal the previous year’s figure, pumps and compressors (8.6%), plastics machinery (15.3%) and machine tools (12.0%) reported pleasing growth rates compared with same quarter in 2007.
Weakening growth expected
The MEM industries continue to enjoy in robust health and have good prospects. However, after the boom in 2007, when production capacity was stretched to its limits, the companies are expecting demand to ease year-on-year. In terms of submarkets and individual companies, greater variation in market development is to be anticipated. The outlook for exports is expected to remain generally positive, especially in Eastern Europe, China and Germany.
Zurich, 22 May, 2008
For further information please contact:
Ruedi Christen, Head of Communications
Tel. +41 (0)44 384 48 50, mobile +41 (0)79 317 24 09
E-mail: r.christennoSpam@swissmem.chAdditional documents:
- Fact Sheet