Manufacturing has been one of Europe’s struggling industries in recent years, with reports of declining expectations, stalled investments, and weakened demand. These trends have underscored the need for support and stability to help the sector thrive in the future.
For a decade, Europe has experienced consistent trade surpluses, but a recent decline in manufacturing trade has led to a decrease in exports and job losses. The war in Ukraine has had a range of economic impacts on Europe – including disruptions to supply chains and trade flows, particularly for industries that rely on imports from Ukraine or use Ukraine as a transit country for goods.
A breakdown of the trade figures shows that the EU’s manufacturing trade surplus has nearly halved. According to the latest numbers from Eurostat, the eurozone’s trade balance with the rest of the world was at a negative €50.9 billion in August 2022, which is the largest deficit ever recorded. This is a significant decline from a €2.8 billion surplus recorded in the same period the previous year.
Many European companies that had operations in Ukraine or relied on Ukrainian suppliers have been forced to suspend or scale back their operations due to the conflict. This has led to a decline in production and sales. In addition, the ongoing conflict has created uncertainty and instability, which can discourage investment in the region and make it more difficult for businesses to plan for the future.
Another impact of the conflict has been the imposition of economic sanctions by some European countries on Russia, which is a major trading partner for many European countries. These sanctions have affected a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, by limiting access to Russian markets and restricting trade in certain goods.
When a country or trading bloc’s imports surpass its exports, it results in a trade deficit, while a trade surplus is when exports exceed imports. It is not inherently good or bad to have a trade deficit, although some countries aim for a trade surplus by implementing tariffs and quotas to artificially increase their trade balance. This approach is known as mercantilism.
Overall, the war in Ukraine has had a significant negative impact on manufacturing in Europe, although the extent of this impact will depend on the specific industries and countries involved.
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