Precision Engineers Remain Resilient During Downturn

22 SEPTEMBER 2015

Precision engineering companies in the UK remain confident that sales levels will remain stable or increase over the next 12 months despite the steep declines in the prices of oil and copper since the start of 2015, according to Columbia Metals' first survey on market conditions in the sector.

Only 18% of precision engineers expect sales turnover to fall in the next year, although almost two thirds of companies believe the market will become more competitive. 60% of precision engineering companies are not expecting to increase levels of investment expenditure or the number of full-time staff.

“The declines in the oil price and copper price since the start of this year have unsettled the industry and have had a negative impact on demand”, says David Stephenson, Managing Director of Columbia Metals. “However, despite some serious concerns over the severity of current market conditions, the majority of precision engineers still expect business volumes to remain stable or increase. This is testament to the resilience and diversification of the sector.”

Oil prices have fallen steadily since June 2014 on the back of weakening global demand and strong production output in the United States and Saudi Arabia. Over the same period, copper has declined to its lowest price since 2008 due to oversupply and declining demand in China, the metal's largest consumer market.

Columbia Metals carried out its survey in September 2015 with precision engineering companies in the aerospace, marine, defence, marine, motorsport and oil & gas industries.

The full survey results can be accessed here.