Global manufacturing output continues to climb in wake of recession, UN reports

Men assemble women's coats in a maquila manufacturing plant in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann

11 June 2014 – World manufacturing is in a phase of steady growth due to the improved financial condition of industrialized countries, especially in Europe, and China’s continued growth, the United Nations today reported.

Output rose by 5.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2014, the highest rate in several years, according to the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

“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 UN agency reported.

Industrialized countries account for almost two-thirds of world manufacturing value added and growth in these economies has significant impact on global manufacturing.

“The base of current growth in industrialized countries has considerably broadened,” the report’s authors noted, adding that manufacturing output rose in all industrial sectors, including traditional sectors as food manufacturing and textiles.

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 whose output grew by 13.1 per cent, manufacturing growth in emerging industrial economies was just 1.4 per cent.

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, the authors summarized.


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