The beginning of 2018 was still a time of strong growth in the Finnish metal industry. However, the growth seems to have stabilized through this autumn. All in all, our total invoicing was still at a good level, but open orders have somewhat decreased. This shows clearly at Jame-Shaft in August, invoicing was still very good in August but the number of orders had already decreased somewhat. Compared with last year, total invoicing was less in September and October than the year before. Partly, it is due to normal seasonal fluctuations, but also, we have had the lowest sales figures often in October for several years in a row. From there on, the orders have increased gradually towards the spring. Nevertheless, it is clear, that invoicing this autumn won’t increase compared with the same period last year.
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Last year was finally a time of strong growth for the metal industry. The change was rapid, which resulted in competition for resources, especially in work force and raw material. The only thing hindering an even greater growth was insufficient capacity, not a lack of demand. The reason for insufficient capacity lies in the fact that workshops have not been investing in new machinery over the past ten years or so. This has particularly shown-up as a decreased service level for customers. At the same time, new machine investments have been made and new staff employed. However, it takes some time before the new resources can be fully exploited and service levels restored.
There has been a turn for the better in the Finnish economy after a long wait. The improvement already started at Jame-Shaft by the end of last year, with the situation improving significantly in the metal industry since the spring and summer. The only thing slowing down the growth is really, insufficient capacity. Investments in various metal workshops have stayed at a low level for a long time and, therefore, the required capacity, i.e. what we had in 2008, cannot be reached. However, machine investments have started again, but it will take some time before the new machines are up and running.
As the summer is approaching, we’d like to wish you a sunny and successful spring and summer of 2017. The Finnish economy is finally improving and many experts are predicting an even bigger growth in the economy than before. This shows well in the Finnish metal industry where a growing number of companies are working at full capacity. There is, of course, a slight uncertainty in the market, both in Finland and elsewhere. The relations between the two Super Powers are intense, North Korea is behaving aggressively and today terrorism is a reality even in the Nordic countries. In Finnish industry, a hot topic of discussion is the labour union negotiations this autumn. This will have an effect on all the companies in the industry, even though many firms are doing well and have a positive outlook for the future. One clear sign of this is that many workshops have started investing in new machinery.
We have had a warm and sunny autumn and we can also state that we can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel regarding the Finnish economy. The atmosphere at the subcontracting fair was generally speaking quite positive and they even broke the earlier record in visitor numbers. At the same time, we would like to thank all the people who visited our stand, it was really nice to have a chat with you all.
As the summer is approaching, we would like to wish you a sunny and successful spring and summer for 2016. It would be fair to say that the economic outlook for companies’ and their expectations about the economy are slightly more positive than some time ago. However, these expectations haven’t shown much in reality when it comes to the Finnish metal industry. There have just been too many uncertainties both in Finland and elsewhere. Delays and complexities in the Finnish social contract negotiations haven’t improved the situation either and the “play” around it has really taken us nowhere. At the same time, we would very much welcome new investments into the metal industry as this is necessary to ensure our competitiveness in the future.