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by Ayesha Rascoe
(Reuters) Demand for the machine tools that shape metal for products such as car engines and refrigerators dropped sharply in April, two groups said in a joint report on Sunday.
U.S. April machine tool demand declined 27.6 percent to $396.47 million from $547.81 million in March, the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association (AMTDA) and the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) said.
Demand grew 29.2 percent from $306.86 million a year earlier in April 2007.
Exports continue to boom as this very volatile series suggests.
US Exports YoY
March demand was revised upward from $544.62 million reported a month ago.
In the first four months of 2008, demand for machine tools, which gives a sense of the pace of manufacturing, stood at $1.587 billion, up 19.9 percent from $1.324 billion in the same 2007 period.
“Export demand for U.S. manufactured products and the global boom in infrastructure development continues to fuel the surprising growth in capital equipment investment,” said AMT President John Byrd in a statement. “The decline from March to April is not surprising, considering the extraordinary results posted in March.”
Demand for machine tools dropped throughout the country in April. In the South, demand fell 59.8 percent, while demand decreased 35.2 percent in the Northeast and 31.7 percent in the Central United States.
Demand also dipped 10.4 percent in the Midwest. In the West, however, demand rose 3.4 percent.
The machine tools report is generally based on a survey of about 200 manufacturers, distributors and importers of machine tools that represent 76 percent of the machine tool market.