New orders received in the MEM industries fell by 13.2% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2019. In the third quarter, the year-on-year decline amounted to 14.7%. The MEM industries have thus now posted falling order intake figures for five quarters in a row. It is noteworthy that the decline is almost exclusively attributable to export orders, which make up almost 80% of order volume. The decline in new orders is having more and more of an impact on sales performance. From January to September 2019, turnover fell by 3.7% compared with the previous year. In the third quarter of 2019, the decline amounted to 7.4%. The slump in sales has above all affected large corporations. One hypothesis to explain this is that, in an uncertain climate, the customers of the MEM industries make fewer major investments (e.g. purchases of new machinery) and focus more on maintaining their existing production resources.
MEM industries: fears prove true
The downward trend in the Swiss mechanical and electrical engineering industries (MEM industries) continued unabated in the third quarter of 2019. In the first nine months of the year, new orders received declined by 13.2%, turnover by 3.7%, and exports by 1.4%. The downturn in the MEM industries has been rapid and severe. In the space of 15 months order intake volumes have fallen by 27%. The situation will only get a chance to stabilize if economic activity in the main markets does not continue to slow and if no political and economic distortions arise globally. Moreover, the Swiss franc must not be allowed to appreciate rapidly against the euro. For this reason, the pressure on negative interest rates initiated by the banks is counterproductive.