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Outlook for key customer industries

We expect the following developments in key customer industries in 2013:

  • Growth in global industrial production (+3.4%) slightly above previous year’s level
  • Transportation: growth slower than in 2012
  • Energy and resources: growth at prior-year level
  • Construction: somewhat faster growth due to gradual stabilization of European construction sector and to infrastructure investments in emerging markets
  • Consumer goods: faster growth; electrical industry grows slightly in industrialized countries and emerging markets
  • Electronics: considerably stronger growth
  • Health and nutrition: slightly higher growth rates
  • Agriculture: continuing solid growth

Global industrial production is expected to grow slightly faster in 2013 (+3.4%) than in 2012. We anticipate a slight revival in growth of around one percentage point in both the industrialized countries as well as the emerging markets.

We forecast weaker growth in the transportation sector and assume that the decline in European automobile production will continue at a reduced rate. In the United States, the catch-up effects that provided for strong growth in 2012 will taper off. In the emerging markets of Asia, however, we expect a similarly robust increase in demand as in the previous year.

The global energy and resources sector will likely post solid growth in 2013, comparable with the level of 2012.

The construction industry is expected to grow somewhat faster in 2013 than in the previous year. In the emerging markets, the construction sector will likely continue its robust growth; the focus here will be on investment in infrastructure. We assume that the decline in European construction activity will decelerate. In Germany, low interest rate levels will bolster housing construction. For the United States, we expect a slight slowdown in production growth; however, we predict that the moderate recovery in the U.S. housing market will continue, and that the construction industry will be stimulated by the Federal Reserve’s support program for the mortgage market.

We expect the consumer goods industry to grow faster in 2013 than in 2012. For the electrical industry, we predict slightly higher growth rates in the industrialized countries as well as in the emerging markets. The decline in textile industry production in the industrialized countries will presumably slow down, while production in the emerging markets of Asia will increase slightly. For the paper industry, we forecast stagnation in the industrialized countries and a moderate pickup in growth in the emerging markets.

After cautious investor behavior in the industrialized countries in 2012, we expect considerably faster growth once more in the electronics industry in 2013. Production growth is likely to significantly accelerate in southeast Asia. For Japan and the United States, we expect moderate growth in production.

In the health and nutrition segment, we anticipate robust growth in 2013, somewhat higher than in the previous year.

Depending on climatic conditions, we also expect solid production growth in worldwide agriculture in 2013.