Imports Drop 14% to US$1.54 Billion
Machine tool imports in 2012 decreased 14% year-on-year to US$1.54 billion amid a declining trend in domestic facility investment and the strength of the Japanese yen currency. Due to a domestic automobile-related facility investment slowdown and the effect of poor economic indicators on domestic manufacturers as well as the after-effects of the Lehman Brothers' crisis, imports have converted to a declining trend since 2009. By region, imports from Asia, Europe and North America all declined. Imports from Japan, Korea's largest supplier, declined the most due to the effect of the strong yen currency.
By item, imports of all machine tools, including grinding machines (-20.8%), NC lathes and presses, declined year-on-year. The import ratio of major import items like NC lathes, machining centers, presses and NC grinding machines from Japan accounted for over 50%. In addition, imports of boring machines (inclusive of NC) and imports of milling machines (inclusive of NC) and general lathes also fell year-on-year.
By region, over double-digit year-on-year declines were witnessed in all the imports from Asia (US$991 million, -17.7%), Europe (US$446 million, -13.7%), North America (US$52 million, -18.1%). In Asia, despite over double-digit declines in the imports from Japan (US$736 million, -23.8%) and Taiwan (US$92.6 million, -11.3%), the nation's imports from China (US$95.7 million, 25.0%). In Europe, imports dropped from Germany (US$195 million, -21.5%) and Switzerland (US$111 million, -6.6%), but increased from Italy (US$84 million, 19.4%).