A review and preview of the global fastener market
Named after the Roman god who is often depicted as having two faces – due to its ability to look to the future and to the past – the Janus Perspective is a unique feature that includes a wide cross section of global fastener business leaders, who have all contributed their retrospective of 2019 and thoughts on prospects and challenges for 2020.
Anders Karlsson, president
First of all, it is appropriate to state that the fasteners market is greatly affected by the European and world economy, therefore it is opportune to present a vision of the current economic situation.
The worldwide economy growth prospects and international trading volumes continue to be negatively influenced by numerous uncertainty factors that are struggling to find solutions despite the expansionary monetary policies implemented, almost simultaneously, both in advanced countries and in emerging economies.
The trade war between the United States and China; the introduction of US tariffs on some European products linked to the Airbus case; the uncertainties on BREXIT times and procedures; as well as the geopolitical tensions in many areas of the world; weigh negatively on global economic trend.
In such an unfavourable context, the International Monetary Fund – in the Economic Outlook presented last October – has revised, for the fourth consecutive time, the growth estimates of the world economy which, for 2019, should be equal to +3%.
In 2019 the increase in GDP for emerging markets and developing economies will be just under 4% while the advanced countries will register a slight increase at 1.7%. The Chinese economy, for commercial, political and structural reasons, will close 2019 at 6.1% down from the previous 6.6%, but other economies are also slowing down: India (6.1% in 2019 compared to 6.8% in 2018), Brazil (0.9% down from the 1.1%) and above all in Russia (1.1% compared to 2.3% in 2018).
The United States will close 2019 at 2.4% in comparison with the 2.9% of 2018, due to a slowdown in demand for consumer goods, while the Eurozone GDP is weak and should close 2019 with an increase of 1.2%, down from 1.9% achieved in 2018. Germany, which is paying – like Italy (these two countries are the major fasteners producers in Europe) – for the crisis in the automotive industry, should close 2019 with a 0.5% increase and Italy 0.1%. France will register a 1.2% increase and Spain 2.2%.
I point out that automotive represents the most important sector for EU fastener producers. The highest percentages of EU fastener products (around 28% worldwide and around 22% at European level) is in fact supplied to the automotive sector.
The global production in the European Union countries, in the third quarter of 2019, decreased by 0.6% if compared to the second quarter in 2019 and by 1.3% in comparison with the analogous previous year period.
With specific reference to the metalworking sector, in the average of the 28 countries of the European Union, production activity fell by 2.9% compared to the third quarter of 2018, with a more marked decline for Germany (-4.7% ) and more contained for the United Kingdom (-2.4%), Italy (-1%) and France (-1%), while Spain recorded a positive change (0.2%).
Given the above situation, I believe at least that in the first few months of 2020 the situation will certainly not be rosy for our sector. EIFI – European Industrial Fasteners Institute – is constantly monitoring all the fastener markets worldwide and constantly informs its associates about the latest developments and trends of the market.
On an annual basis, we carry out comprehensive surveys with the support of external consultants to develop the major issues and challenges our members are confronted with. The global market requires today high-quality, service and safe products, and these high standards are always granted by our members.
Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 12 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.
Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.