World manufacturing growth has remained sluggish as 2012 winds down, with output rising by just 2.2 per cent compared to the same quarter in the previous year, the lowest rate since 2009, a report of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) has stated.
The report said new setbacks have dimmed the prospects of a global manufacturing recovery. While trends for the first half of 2012 were a mixture of dynamic growth in North America, East Asia and developing countries, and uncertainty in Europe, 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.
Industrialised countries as a group have experienced a decrease in industrial production (negative growth) for the first time since 2009. UNIDO estimates show that during the third quarter of 2012 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. Among the few countries registering positive growth were Austria, Malta and Slovakia.
Manufacturing output in Japan decreased by 4.6 per cent but, on the positive side, in the United States, manufacturing output grew by 4.1 per cent and, in the Russian Federation, it grew by 0.3 per cent.
Relative to industrialised 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 of 2012, compared to the same quarter in the previous 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.
UNIDO’s quarterly production estimates provide information about the current status and growth trends of world manufacturing output by country groups and by manufacturing sector.