The rate of global manufacturing growth has slowed, mainly as a consequence of trade and tariff barriers, according to the International Yearbook of Industrial Statistics 2019 published by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
World manufacturing value added rose by 3.6 per cent in 2018, slightly lower than the 3.8 per cent recorded in the previous year. The slowdown is mainly attributed to emerging trade and tariff barriers involving the USA and China, as well as the USA and the European Union (EU), which has exposed markets to a significant amount of uncertainty, limiting investment and future growth. China, the EU and the USA account for over half of global manufacturing production.
The slowdown in production in 2018 was observed in industrialized economies as well as developing and emerging industrial economies. The manufacturing value added (MVA) growth rate for industrialized countries rose by 2.3 per cent in 2018, compared to 2.6 per cent in 2017. For the group of developing and emerging industrial economies, the MVA growth rate in 2018 was 3.8 per cent, down from 4.1 per cent in 2017.
In North America, manufacturing production maintained relatively higher growth, mainly thanks to the USA where manufacturing production rose at the higher pace of 3.1 per cent in 2018, compared to 1.8 in 2017. However, in the European Union and East Asian countries, the annual manufacturing growth rate decreased, from 3.5 per cent to 2.6 per cent, and from 3.1 per cent to 1.9 per cent, respectively.
The International Yearbook of Industrial Statistics 2019 also presents data at manufacturing sector level by country. For example, if China is excluded from a global ranking of developing countries, Indonesia ranked top among food manufacturing and rubber and plastic products, while India took first position in production of textiles, pharmaceuticals and basic metals. Similarly, Bangladesh stood as the largest producer of wearing apparel.
Overall structural change in manufacturing was characterized by the increasing share of high-tech sectors in manufacturing output. For example, the medium-high and high-technology sectors accounted for more than 75 per cent of manufacturing of Singapore. Japan and the Republic of Korea were among other leading manufacturers in high-tech sectors.
African countries continue to struggle in their efforts to catch up with the industrial development of the rest of the world. The average share of manufacturing in GDP of African least developed countries (LDCs) has further dropped to 8.3 per cent compared to the 19.6 per cent average of the developing countries and emerging industrial economies group. This represents a serious challenge to the Sustainable Development Goal 9 target of doubling the MVA share in GDP in LDCs by 2030.
UNIDO’s Yearbook presents detailed, country-specific, business structure statistics, which provide empirical evidence for formulating industrial policy and carrying out comparative analysis of structural change and productivity. An analysis of global manufacturing’s current growth trends is provided by quarterly reports.
UNIDO maintains an international industrial statistics database covering mining and quarrying, manufacturing, electricity gas and water supply and the international trade of manufactured goods. UNIDO data can be accessed online or obtained in CD products.