Prospects for global manufacturing recovery dim, says new UN report

Silk manufacturing in China. Photo: UNIDO

3 December 2012 – New setbacks have dimmed the prospects of a global manufacturing recovery, says a new United Nations report released today which finds that growth in this sector has remained sluggish in the third quarter of 2012, with output rising by just 2.2 per cent compared to the same quarter last year, the lowest rate since 2009.

According to the world manufacturing production statistics for the third quarter of 2012, published by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), trends for the first half of this year were a mixture of dynamic growth in North America, East Asia and developing countries, and uncertainty in Europe.

However, the latest production data indicate “a stronger recession in Europe and a weakened recovery in North America and East Asia, as well as a sustained slowdown in developing countries,” the Vienna-based agency said in a news release.

It added that industrialized countries, as a group, have experienced a decrease in industrial production for the first time since 2009.

UNIDO estimates show that during the third quarter, manufacturing output dropped in all major euro-zone economies compared to the same quarter in the previous year, with Germany experiencing a fall of 1.7 per cent, Italy 6.2 per cent, France 1.9 per cent and the United Kingdom 0.9 per cent. Austria, Malta and Slovakia were among the few nations registering positive growth.

Manufacturing output in Japan decreased by 4.6 per cent, while it grew by 4.1 per cent in the United States and by 0.3 per cent in Russia.

The agency pointed out that, compared to industrialized countries, the rate of industrial growth of developing countries remained high, however the impact of global contraction is clear.

The manufacturing output of developing countries grew by 6.6 per cent in the third quarter, compared to the same quarter last year, but fell by 2.3 per cent compared to the second quarter.

Manufacturing output in China grew year-on-year by 9.2 per cent, in Mexico by 4.1 per cent and in Turkey by 3.3 per cent. India achieved a nominal growth of 0.2 per cent but manufacturing output fell in Latin American countries.

Manufacturing in African countries, which depends heavily on the export of primary processed commodities to Europe, has also slowed down. Based on limited data, UNIDO estimates that the manufacturing output of African countries as a group rose by just 2.6 per cent. South Africa showed a rise of 2.9 per cent, but Egypt’s output fell by 5.9 per cent.


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