NFPA’s December 2014 Confidential Shipment Statistics (CSS) report, a monthly source of fluid power shipment and order data trends often used to benchmark company performance, confirmed that the fluid power industry has finally eluded “The December Decline.” Fluid power manufacturers certainly won’t miss this November to December annual decline and welcome December growth for the first time since 2010, but should realize that much of this trend reversal is due to an extremely weak November. Unfortunately, not all segments of the industry came out ahead in December with industrial hydraulics continuing the December slide for yet another year.
Preliminary December 2014 shipments of fluid power products increased 10.2% compared to December 2013 and increased 2.7% when compared with November 2014. Mobile hydraulic, industrial hydraulic, and pneumatic shipments increased when compared with December 2013. Mobile hydraulic and pneumatic shipments increased, while industrial hydraulic shipments decreased when compared with last month.
Final November 2014 shipments of fluid power products decreased 0.7% to an overall 5% for the 2014 calendar year when compared with the same time period in 2013. Both the 12-Month Moving Average (MMA) index of 105.2, an indicator of change in the size of the industry, and the 12/12 Ratio index of 105.7, an indicator of change in the rate of growth in the industry, maintain levels above 100 but have begun to decline. The direction and speed in which these two index indicators move, as well as their position above or below 100, can help you understand the short-term outlook for our industry.
Fluid power manufacturers have now shifted their focus to 2015 and what is to come. Most are hoping at the very least that we continue the industry’s typical “bell-shaped” curve trend and start 2015 off with a strong first quarter. The NFPA Forecast Report, supplied by ITR Economics, points to continued growth in 2015 for the fluid power industry with growth of 1.8% over 2014.