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JMTBA forecasts 2024 Japanese machine tool orders at 1.5 trillion JPY 

February 16, 2024

News Digest Publishing (ND), the organization behind SEISANZAI Japan, held the “2024 FA Industry New Year’s Reception” on January 11. Dr. Yoshiharu Inaba, Chairman of the Japan Machine Tool Builders’ Association (JMTBA), shared the JMTBA’s optimistic forecast of 1.5 trillion yen for 2024, indicating a 1.4% increase from the previous year. 

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Foreign demand sustains strength for third consecutive year 

Dr. Yoshiharu Inaba, Chairman of the Japan Machine Tool Builders’ Association (JMTBA)

Dr. Yoshiharu Inaba, Chairman of the Japan Machine Tool Builders’ Association (JMTBA)

According to the JMTBA, of the total machine tool orders in Japan for 2023 of 1.48 trillion yen, domestic demand reached 480 billion yen, while overseas demand exceeded 1 trillion yen. Although both figures were lower than the previous year for the first time in three years, overseas demand maintained its robust performance by exceeding 1 trillion yen for the third consecutive year. 

Dr. Yoshiharu Inaba, Chairman of the JMTBA and Chairman of Fanuc, attributed this trend to the ongoing adjustments in the electric vehicle and semiconductor-related markets, as well as the economic slowdown triggered by the real estate crisis in China, which affected the industry.  

In the Japanese machine tool industry, monthly new orders fell to 51.2 billion yen in May 2020 due to COVID-19; as economic activity gradually resumed in the second half of 2020 and global investment demand began to recover, orders for machine tools also picked up. Dr. Inaba recalled, “Investments related to teleworking, semiconductors, and electric vehicles supported orders, and subsidies in Japan played a key role in supporting these orders.” 

Subsequently, the amount of orders for a single month peaked in March 2022, and orders remained in the 150 billion yen range in the first half of 2022. Although the total amount of orders for the year as a whole reached the second-highest level on record, major industries entered an adjustment phase in the second half of the year, and the economic slowdown in the Chinese market also affected orders, with monthly new orders starting to fall below the level of the previous year. 

However, the European and North American markets remained robust despite interest rate hikes, and overall order levels remained solid. 

Optimistic yet realistic outlook 

Amid international uncertainty, the JMTBA forecasts total machine tool orders in Japan to increase 1.4% year-on-year to 1.5 trillion yen in 2024. The breakdown indicates a 10.4% YoY increase in domestic demand to 530 billion yen, while foreign demand is expected to decrease 3.0% YoY to 970 billion yen. 

Dr. Inaba expressed optimism, stating, “Domestic demand is expected to rise, supported by various subsidies, mainly from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan, and the growing need for production automation.” Forecasting a recovery in demand for automobiles and semiconductors in the second half of the year, he pointed to active investment in semiconductor production equipment in Europe, the United States, China, India and other countries. 

Regarding foreign demand, Dr. Inaba forecasts that interest rate cuts in Europe will begin in the spring, prompting small and medium-sized enterprises to resume capital investment. He expects the current slump in the Chinese market to bottom out and begin to recover, and emphasizes the solid outlook for foreign demand in light of favorable market conditions in Europe and the United States.  

He also mentioned the macroeconomic outlook, saying that global economic growth is expected to decline in 2024, with a gradual recovery starting in 2025. While acknowledging the challenging market conditions, he concluded, “Achieving this year’s total orders of 1.5 trillion yen is quite feasible. We will strive to make 2024 a favorable year for the Japanese machine tool industry.” 


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