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2 Mar, 2012

World Manufacturing Recovery Stalls as Euro-zone Instability Weakens Growth

United Nations Industrial Development Organization

VIENNA, 1 March 2012 – World manufacturing output grew by 4.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year compared to the same period of the previous year, the lowest quarterly growth rate in 2011. The two main economies that contributed to the ongoing growth were China and the United States.

The world manufacturing output had an impressive start in the first quarter of 2011 indicating a recovery from the financial crisis of 2008-2009. However this process stalled since the second quarter, especially due to the deteriorated financial situation in the Euro-zone countries, according to a report released today by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

The fourth quarter of 2011 showed signs of a slow-down in manufacturing production growth in developing countries, where for the first time after the financial crisis, the growth rate was below 10 per cent.

The strong performance of the manufacturing of the transport and automotive industry in developing and industrialized countries was the main driver of overall growth.

The overall growth of the manufacturing output of industrialized countries was estimated merely at 2 per cent for the fourth quarter. However, growth trends in industrialized countries were quite mixed. While the growth prospects of European countries were weakened, industrialized countries outside Europe consolidated their positive trends.

Manufacturing output of the United States grew by 4.3 per cent in the fourth quarter, reflecting the further consolidation of the manufacturing sector, compared to the same period of the previous year. While Japan’s manufacturing growth declined in the fourth quarter, the manufacturing production of the Republic of Korea grew by 5.6 per cent.

Impact of the financial instability could be seen both inside and outside the Euro-zone. Manufacturing output fell in the United Kingdom and Switzerland, and Greece saw a 14.0 per cent manufacturing output decrease in the fourth quarter compared to the same period of the previous year. Manufacturing output also fell in Spain by 4.6 per cent, Portugal by 3.6 per cent and Italy by 2.6 per cent.

Germany’s manufacturing sector showed 3.7 per cent growth, while Austria’s manufacturing output grew by 3.3 per cent, Belgian by 4.6 per cent, and France’s by 2.1 per cent. Growth figures were less than one per cent in Finland, Ireland and the Netherlands. High manufacturing growth was observed in the Czech Republic with 5.2 per cent, Poland with 9.6 per cent and the Russian Federation with 6.5 per cent.

The manufacturing output of developing countries grew at a rate of 9.2 per cent. China’s manufacturing sector experienced strong growth of 13.1 per cent, Argentina’s output grew by 3.4 per cent, India’s by 4.1 per cent, and Mexico’s by 4.9 per cent. The manufacturing output of Brazil fell by 1.9 per cent compared to the same period of the previous year.

The latest UNIDO report also contains the statistics on growth performance of industrialized and developing countries at sector level. The automotive sector grew by 8.1 per cent and other transport equipment growth was calculated at 10.2 per cent.

UNIDO Statistics publishes quarterly production estimates in order to inform international data users about the current status and growth trends of world manufacturing output. Annual data on production, employment and capital formation is published in the International Yearbook of Industrial Statistics. The 2012 edition of the yearbook will be released shortly

UNIDO maintains an international industrial statistical database in accordance with the mandate of the United Nations Statistics Commission. Data is disseminated through report publications, CD products and online access.