Global manufacturing recovering but growth prospects for developing and emerging industrial economies remain fragile
World manufacturing has entered a phase of steady growth after a prolonged period of recession. Global manufacturing output rose 5.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2014, the highest rate in several years, according to a report released by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The current growth can be attributed mainly to the improving financial condition of industrialized countries, especially in Europe. However, emerging industrial economies, except for China, are still experiencing low growth.
Industrialized countries account for almost two-thirds of world manufacturing value added and growth in these economies has significant impact on global manufacturing.
Manufacturing output rose by 3.3 per cent in industrialized countries and 9.4 per cent in developing and emerging industrial economies in the first quarter of 2014. However, excluding China, manufacturing growth in emerging industrial economies was just 1.4 per cent. China’s manufacturing output grew by 13.1 per cent.
The base of current growth in industrialized countries has considerably broadened. Manufacturing output rose in all industrial sectors, including such traditional sectors as the manufacture of food products, textiles and wearing apparel.
Higher growth in the production of durable goods, such as household equipment, electronic goods and motor vehicles, indicated rising consumer confidence in long-term stability.
The manufacture of machinery and equipment rose by 6.4 per cent in Canada, by 17.7 per cent in Japan, and by 6.0 per cent in the United States.
However, growth prospects for developing and emerging industrial economies remain fragile. Manufacturing output in Argentina fell by 1.8 per cent, in Brazil by 0.2 per cent and in India by 1.6 per cent.
The major risks to a recovery of these economies relate to the reversal of capital flows, as an external factor, and the rise in the cost of production as an internal factor.
As the market in industrialized economies stabilizes and the demand for consumer goods, as well as input items, rises, exports from developing countries may eventually increase, which should boost their industrial production. In this context, the current recovery is likely to have a positive impact on global manufacturing.
UNIDO regularly releases the statistics on current growth trends of global manufacturing at country and regional level.
UNIDO maintains an international industrial statistical database in accordance with the mandate of the United Nations Statistics Commission. Data can be downloaded through online access or obtained through CD products and publications.