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Austrian Metal Industry: Stable Outlook for 2011

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February 23, 2011

Recovery has slowed, but will continue as credit, labor and raw material price issues persist 

“When average is not enough…” is the title of the February, 2011 Economic Outlook for the Austrian Machinery and Metalware Industries from the Association of the Austrian Machinery & Metalware Industries . In summary, Austrian firms which manufacture metal products and machines are expecting slow, continued growth in 2011. The post-recession recovery peaked in August, 2010 yet continues at more modest levels. Whereas orders are at a normal level, the report cites that they are still a significant 15% below the boom years of 2006-2008.

The report cites such factors as access to affordable credit, lack of a young technically competent workforce and rising raw material prices as roadblocks to a stronger recovery. Such factors are also relevant in the US. On a more local level, the report cites a surprisingly quick industrial recovery; strong export growth, particularly to Germany; and decreased production expectations in the Eurozone.

How does this report differ from the outlook in the US metals and machines industries? Due to the size and complexity of the US market, it is difficult to obtain analyses that include as many industry segments and a longer time perspectives as this Austrian report provides. Perhaps for cultural reasons, it is also unusual for US outlooks to diminish the glow of positive growth with the perspective of the boom years of only five or six years ago. Yet basic facts remain the same: Austrian metal and machine firms weathered the recession well and are now poised to continue realistic if not euphoric growth in 2011.