According to a report compiled by Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, orders received by the five major machine tool manufacturers in April were 35,132 million yen, down 9.1% from the same month last year and the fourth consecutive month of decline. Compared to the previous month, orders fell 8.3%, the first decline in three months. Rising interest rates and fears of a slowdown in the global economy appear to have caused customers to take a cautious approach to capital investment.

Since Nidec OKK and Nidec Machine Tool (formerly Nidec Machine Tool, Ritto City, Shiga Prefecture) did not disclose their orders in April, this tally was based on five companies.

Domestic demand from the five companies fell 24.9% y-o-y, the fourth consecutive monthly decline. Foreign demand likewise declined by 0.2%, the second consecutive month of decline, continuing the impact of orders that have been adjusted since the fall of 2022.

Of the five companies, Makino Milling Machine Mfg. was the only one to post a year-on-year increase. This was due to an increase in orders since May 2022, when orders entered a boom period, compared to April 2022, when orders were at a relatively low level. Orders in the U.S. and Chinese markets have been particularly favorable, with an increase in orders compared to the one-month average from January to March 2023.

Okuma’s electric vehicle (EV)-related and other products are performing well in the U.S., European, and Chinese markets. In China, the momentum of orders temporarily slowed down, but the company won projects with large order value. In the domestic market, the sales department believes that “the momentum of orders has calmed down” compared to the previous year, when orders for semiconductor manufacturing equipment-related and other products were strong.

JTEKT continues to see demand in the Chinese market for EVs and other new energy vehicles, and in the domestic market “orders are recovering in markets other than engine parts,” according to the Corporate Planning Department. On the other hand, Shibaura Machinery saw an increase in orders for wind power generation in China, but a decline was seen in India, resulting in a decrease in overall overseas orders.

Makino Milling Machine expects orders for EV-related applications to increase, starting with those in China, and that orders will increase worldwide in the second half (October 2011 to March 2012), including those for semiconductor-related applications,” said the Sustainability Promotion Office of Makino Milling Machine Mfg. Okuma’s sales department opined that “orders for semiconductor production equipment may improve from the summer and fall.

Tsugami is still in an adjustment phase for orders in China and other overseas markets as a whole. The company’s executives stated that April’s order performance was not bad, and that they are looking for a time when orders will reverse to see if the adjustment phase has been good so far or will continue.