Outlook for key customer industries

  • Marginally higher growth in global industrial production expected for 2015

Global industrial production is likely to grow at 3.6% in 2015, marginally faster than the +3.4% rate in 2014. At 2.4%, the growth rate in the industrialized countries will be roughly comparable with that of the previous year. We expect a slight upturn in the emerging markets (2015: +4.7%; 2014: +4.3%).

In the transportation sector, we anticipate faster growth than in 2014. Development will vary markedly by region. In western Europe, we expect growth rates in the automobile industry to slow down again after the catch-up effects of 2014. We also foresee a smaller increase in automobile production in the United States. A significant slowdown is expected in Japan; however, we foresee considerably higher growth rates in India and Thailand. The market in China should continue its solid growth. After the previous year’s sharp drops, we also assume that the automobile industry will decline only slightly in Russia and grow slightly in Brazil.

The energy and resources sector is likely to continue its slight growth in 2015. In Europe, we expect energy consumption to stagnate after the previous year’s warm winter resulted in a considerable decline. Raw material production in the United States should continue to grow in the wake of the boom in shale gas. There is also likely to be a further significant increase in the demand for energy and raw materials in the emerging markets of Asia.

In the construction industry, we foresee growth at approximately the level of 2014. The western European market is expected to continue on its slow path to recovery. For the first time in a while, we also anticipate a marginal increase in Spain’s construction sector, as well. The industry will keep shrinking in France and Italy. We anticipate somewhat slower growth in the more robust markets in Germany and the United Kingdom. We expect the U.S. construction sector to grow slightly faster, driven largely by residential and commercial building projects. In China, however, the construction of new – especially residential – buildings will probably continue to slow down.

We assume that the consumer goods industry will once again grow faster in 2015 than in the year before, primarily supported by the advanced economies. We now anticipate slight growth in western Europe after the increasingly smaller declines over the past three years. We foresee a slight upturn for the United States. In the emerging markets of Asia, growth rates will once again reach the high levels of 2014. Following the sharp declines of the previous year, we predict widespread stagnation in the consumer goods industry in Brazil.

The electronics industry will probably grow somewhat faster than in 2014. We anticipate some slight deceleration in Europe but stronger growth in the United States. For the emerging markets of Asia, which contribute more than a third of the global value added and more than half of global production, the economic slowdown in China will probably lead to a slight growth decline at a high level. In Japan, we assume that the industry will grow again after the previous year’s decline.

We predict robust growth approximating prior-year levels for production in the health and nutrition sector. In western Europe, we expect growth to remain consistent at a low level but stay slightly ahead of overall economic growth. While the industry in the United States should grow somewhat faster than in the previous year, we anticipate a slight decline at a high level in the emerging markets of Asia.

For agriculture, we foresee similar growth rates as in the previous year. Even if growth is likely to be curbed by ongoing low prices for agricultural commodities, this still means that agricultural production in 2015 will continue to grow at its average long-term pace. Furthermore, the lower price of oil will dampen demand for bioethanol.