Results of the Ifo Investment Survey for German manufacturing in Fall 2013
Western German Manufacturing: Greater Willingness to Invest in 2014
According to the results of the current Ifo Investment Survey, German manufacturers invested around 57 billion euros in new tangible assets. This represented a nominal increase of 3% in investment versus the previous year. Due to the relatively stable prices for investment goods in 2013 the real increase is of around the same magnitude.
Investments increased in nearly all of the main industrial groupings in 2013, with investments in new tangible assets only remaining at the previous year’s level in intermediate goods manufacturing. The biggest increase in investment occurred in the main group of consumer goods manufacturing, which is dominated by medium-sized companies. When differentiated according to size classes, the results show that small companies tended to upwardly revise their initial investment plans over the course of last year, while larger companies were not able to fully realise their investment plans for 2013.
Based on companies’ plans, a further increase in manufacturing investment can be expected in 2014. Around 66% of manufacturers intend to increase their investment expenditure in 2014, while 30% plan to invest less than last year. The remaining 4% of survey participants plan no change in investment volumes in 2014 versus 2013. According to the quantitative results, there will be a 9% nominal increase (real: around 8%) in investment by the manufacturing industry in 2014.
All of the main groups plan to increase their investment expenditure in 2013. The biggest increase in the investment budget – by 10% - is planned in investment goods manufacturing. However, intermediate goods manufacturers and consumer goods manufacturers also intend to invest more in 2014 (+8% and/or +9%). The increase (+4%) reported by consumer durables producers looks moderate by comparison. Unlike in manufacturing, planned investment in mining is around 6% below last year’s level.
When the results are differentiated by economic sector, most branches intend to increase their investment budget in 2014. The biggest increase of around one fifth was reported by the pharmaceutical industry. However, producers of data processing equipment, electronic and optical products, who clearly reduced their expenditure in tangible assets in 2012 and 2013, recently reported higher capacity utilisation rates in the context of the Ifo Business Survey and were also planning a strong increase of around almost a fifth in investment. After cautious investment activity in 2013, companies in metal goods and “other vehicle manufacturing”, as well as air and spacecraft manufacturers and ship builders are also planning robust investment increases of 15%. The important branch - in terms of investment volume - of automotive manufacturing and parts is planning to increase investment by 10% in 2014. Declines in investment of around 5% are to be expected in industries like, for example, wood products (excluding furniture production).
Investment in expansion and replacement procurement both roughly balance each other out in the years 2013 and 2014 covered by the survey. Around 30% of this year’s investment in property, plant and equipment can be attributed to these two categories respectively. Compared to the 1990s, rationalisation measures play a minor role.
Over 2,500 Western German companies participated in the investment survey conducted in the fourth quarter of 2013. Measured in terms of gross fixed capital spending, these firms represent a good 48% of the Western German manufacturing sector. In addition to new fixed assets in 2013, this survey also covered investment plans for 2014, as well as investment goal-setting.
Presentation of survey results
In connection with the bi-annual Ifo Investment Survey of manufacturing and mining, the Ifo Institute collects data on investment trends in Western and Eastern Germany. The survey looks at past trends in investment developments, the investment plans for the current and forthcoming year and investment motives.