Letter IEDI n. 1051–The revival of global industry
According to the latest UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) report, in Q3/20 world industrial production bounced back to positive territory. It was the first quarter of reaction after the COVID-19 shock and positive rates marked the performance of all groups of countries.
Compared to the previous quarter, seasonally adjusted, the increase reached +12.1%. As a result, the gap in relation to last year decreased, but remained present: -1.1% compared to Q3/19.
Despite the favorable signs, UNIDO warns that the recent rise in the number of people infected with the new coronavirus, in many parts of the world, could bring a further downturn in industrial activity in the coming months. Uncertainties about the production and distribution of vaccines against COVID-19 may also come to exert negative pressure.
The resumption in Q3/20, although widespread, was driven by the emerging countries (except China), whose manufacturing grew +23.3% compared to the previous quarter, after a 20.2% contraction in Q2/20. In this group, the biggest increase came from Latin America, with +26%.
China, the first country to suffer the economic effects of COVID-19, has been recovering for two quarters. After the decrease of 18.1% in Q1/20, it registered +24.1% and +7.4% in Q2 and Q3/20, always in comparison with the previous quarter, with seasonal adjustment. As a result, the Chinese industry is above last year's production level. In Q3/20 it registered +8.2% compared to Q3/19.
In advanced economies, the manufacturing industry grew +12.4% in Q3/20, after a 14.5% drop in Q2/20. With only a partial recovery, its performance against the same period of last year shows a fall of 5.9%, that is, more serious than in the case of emerging countries (-3.7%, excluding China).
In the group of advanced economies, Europe had the best performance with an increase of +15.9% compared to the previous quarter. However, it is one of the areas to present a second wave of contagion of the new coronavirus, which tends to jeopardize an additional result of this order at the end of the year.
In North America, manufacturing rose +12.1% and in East Asia, +8.3%, compared to Apr–Jun/20. In both cases, these increases were less intense than the Q2/20 falls (-14.8% and -12.3%, respectively).
In order to incorporate more recent information, the IEDI prepared—based on data from the countries themselves, the OECD and Eurostat—an international ranking of industrial output growth in several countries for 2020, with data available up to Oct/20.
Among the 42 countries monitored, Brazil occupied an intermediate position, 22nd, with a negative result of -6.6% compared to Jan–Oct/19, with seasonal adjustment. Even so, we are ahead of countries like the USA, the UK, Japan, Spain, France and Germany.
Finally, the UNIDO report also shows that medium-high and high-tech industries, which include many branches of capital goods and consumer durables, led the industry's revival in Q3/20.
In the period of Jul–Sep/20, the group of medium-high and high technology sectors registered +0.1%, after falling 10.6% in Q2/20. The category of medium technology intensity, which had the biggest losses in Apr–Jun/20 (-12.3%), remained in the red in Q3/20, with -1.6%.