Predictably, Machine Tools Begin 2005 At Slower Speed

Gross new orders of machine tools for U.S. consumption totaled $217.03 million in January 2005, 29.1% lower than December 2004's figure of $305.9 million, in part reflecting the year end expiration of a special tax incentive. This past January's figure was, however, 20.8% higher than the $179.62 million in new orders recorded for January 2004, the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association (AMTDA) and AMT -- The Association for Manufacturing Technology jointly reported this week.

"Keeping pace with December [2004] was not going to be easy due to the end of bonus depreciation," noted Ralph J. Nappi, president of AMTDA. "Yet we start the year [2005] 20% ahead compared with January 2004, which is evidence that manufacturing still recognizes the benefits of investing in new capital equipment."

In January of this year, new orders of metal cutting machine tools for U.S. consumption were $205.72 million, down 27.7% from December's $284.49 million but 23.4% ahead of January 2004's $166.7 million. Metal forming machine tools did not fare as well. Orders totaling $11.3 million in January 2005 were 47.2% below December's $21.41 million and 12.5% below the previous January's $12.93 million.

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