The MFG Meeting + MTForecast event in Denver was amazing! The package of AMT’s two popular meetings attracted the largest audience to the forecasting conference in 25 years. It was great to feel the energy of an in-person event and see so many familiar faces – plus lots of new ones too. Top-notch speakers provided high-quality intelligence on markets, technology, and opportunities. Attendees took full advantage of the networking opportunities during breaks, over meals, and while sharing drinks and conversation at the sponsored receptions. On Saturday morning, dozens of travelers were abuzz, touching base before the trip home.
Alan Beaulieu and Mark Killion headlined the economic program. Their macro-economic outlooks are very similar, with GDP growing about 15% in real terms from the recession’s trough through 2024. Both see industrial production growing at better than 5% in 2021, which will slow in each of the next two years. Their outlooks on machine tool orders include a solid finish to 2021 and a slower, but positive, growth through 2023. Their forecasts for orders in 2024 diverge.
Our auto industry speakers expect capital expenditures to improve in the second half of 2022 as supply chain issues begin to mitigate. Mark and Alan both noted that it is difficult to pinpoint when an improvement in supply chain issues will begin but said that improvements should start mid to late summer. They expect auto CAPEX to improve during late spring and early summer 2022.
Aerospace order and shipment forecasts varied across defense, commercial, and commercial space sectors. Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at Teal Group, and Kristine Liwag, executive director at Morgan Stanley, spoke to the three separate paths that the defense, commercial, and space sectors will take during the next three years. The defense sector is strong and will continue to be a source of new investment, peaking in 2028. Commercial jet producers will be back on track in early 2023, with single-aisle products leading the way as airline revenues bounce back and oil prices rise. Kristine provided her insights into the aggressive launch schedules of the commercial space industry and the impact on their spending to be able to achieve those goals. She also touched on the free-for-all in space that has made placing a platform into orbit a complicated and dangerous activity.
Our energy expert, Energyzt Executive Director Tanya Bodell, shared that the current price of oil is likely to fall to $40-$60 a barrel. However, other energy, like natural gas, has seen futures prices increase significantly in the past few weeks and are not likely to adjust as significantly as oil prices. She noted that electric vehicles in quantity will create challenges for the electrical grid, as nuclear power retires and the world strives to eliminate carbon-generated power sources. These trends will crunch power supplies in the western and southeastern United States and throughout most of Europe. She also shared technological progress in the use of hydrogen and new production methods as a source for a more sustainable power grid.
Revisit the important moments
The strength of opportunities, a common thread throughout other speakers’ presentations, speaks to the growth of key supply chain sectors, including tool and die, moldmaking, and electric motors. These industries’ rebirth in North America is responsible for much of the 40%-plus growth in manufacturing technology orders expected through the end of 2021.
The 2021 MFG Meeting + MTForecast event had one and a half times the information as any program AMT has ever put together. I encourage you to touch base with co-workers who attended. If that isn’t a resource available to you, then go to www.MTForecast.com and purchase the “Recording Package.” It includes all of the presentations in PDF format and access to recordings of every presentation on the main stage.