6 February 2020
N° 2020-32

Business managers in manufacturing industry are expecting a modest increase in their 2020 investmentIndustrial investment survey - January 2020

The business managers in industry surveyed in January 2020 stated that their investment raised by 1% in nominal terms in 2019, thus markedly lowering their estimate from last October. For 2020, the business leaders in industry are now expecting to raise their investment spending by 3% in value compared with 2019. For a second forecast given in January, it is however the lowest investment growth expectation since 2013.

Informations rapides
No 32
Paru le : Paru le 06/02/2020
Prochaine parution le : 07/05/2020 at 08:45 - April 2020
Informations rapides  No 32 - February 2020

The business managers in industry surveyed in January 2020 stated that their investment raised by 1% in nominal terms in 2019, thus markedly lowering their estimate from last October. The downward revision (−3 points) is larger than the average at this time of year (−1 point). For 2020, the business leaders in industry are now expecting to raise their investment spending by 3% in value compared with 2019. Thus they have raised by 4 points their previous estimate, as usual at this time of year. For a second forecast given in January, it is however the lowest investment growth expectation since 2013.

Estimate of the annual nominal change in investment in the manufacturing industry

in %
Estimate of the annual nominal change in investment in the manufacturing industry (in %)
Annual nominal change in investments
1998 6
1999 4
2000 9
2001 2
2002 -9
2003 -8
2004 1
2005 -4
2006 6
2007 6
2008 1
2009 -21
2010 1
2011 12
2012 5
2013 -5
2014 3
2015 2
2016 5
2017 5
2018 2
2019 1
2020 3
  • Note: From 1998 to 2018, the evolution is the value ultimately declared; for 2019 and 2020 the evolution is the estimate from the current survey.

Estimate of the annual nominal change in investment in the manufacturing industry

  • Note: From 1998 to 2018, the evolution is the value ultimately declared; for 2019 and 2020 the evolution is the estimate from the current survey.
  • Source: INSEE - Industrial investment survey.

For 2020, business managers have upgraded their investment forecast as usual in January

With an expected overall increase of 3% in investment for 2020, business managers have increased their estimate from last October by 4 points, as in average at this time of year. However, they have lowered their estimate of the 2019 investment evolution by 3 points, while they ordinarily do so by only one point in January.

In the agri-food, machine equipment and “other manufacturing” sectors, 2019 investments have been updated downwards on average whereas the forecast regarding 2020 have been modified upwards. Thus, investment should bounce vigorously in these three sectors in 2020. In contrast, investments in the transport equipment sector have been updated downwards both for 2019 and 2020. Investment from transport equipment manufacturers should recede strongly in 2020.

The business managers’ estimate should be revised over the next quarters. On average since 2003, the forecast issued in January has been 3 points over the value ultimately declared in July of the following year.

Estimate of the nominal annual investment growth in manufacturing industry by major sector%

Estimate of the nominal annual investment growth in manufacturing industry by major sector
NA* : (A17) et [A38] In 2019 In 2020
Forecast Oct.19 estimate Jan.20 Forecast Oct.19 Forecast Jan.20
C: Manufacturing Industry 4 1 -1 3
(C1) Manufacture of food products and beverages 0 -5 1 7
(C3) Electrical and electronic equipment; machine equipment 5 1 0 9
(C4) Manufacture of transport equipment 11 8 2 -6
[CL1] Motor vehicles 18 15 2 -2
(C5) Other manufacturing 2 0 -1 4
Total sectors C3 + C4 + C5 4 2 0 2
  • * The codes correspond to the level of aggregation (A17) and [A38] of the "NA" aggregate classification based on NAF rev.2.
  • How to read this table: In the manufacturing industry, firms surveyed in January 2020 observed a 1 % increase in nominal investment in 2019 compared with 2018 and forecast an increase of 3 % in 2020 compared with 2019.
  • Source: INSEE – Industrial investment survey

The balance of opinion related to expected investment recovers for the first half of 2020

For the second half of 2019, as compared to the first half, hardly more business managers in industry have reported a rise rather than a drop in their investment. The balance related to investment change in the past semester has dropped strongly as compared to the previous half year (+2 after +20) and slipped below its long-term average (+7).

For the first half of 2020, business leaders have been more numerous to anticipate a rise than a drop in their investment: the balance of opinion regarding investment expected during the next half year has picked up to +9 after -1 and has returned above its long-term average (+4).

Opinion of industrialists regarding six-month change in investment (second estimate)

Opinion of industrialists regarding six-month change in investment (second estimate)
Expected current semester
2003-S1 -0.2
2003-S2 0.2
2004-S1 11.1
2004-S2 4.5
2005-S1 9.8
2005-S2 8.7
2006-S1 9.6
2006-S2 17.0
2007-S1 6.4
2007-S2 14.6
2008-S1 5.5
2008-S2 3.4
2009-S1 -22.8
2009-S2 -19.6
2010-S1 -4.9
2010-S2 7.2
2011-S1 12.9
2011-S2 16.7
2012-S1 4.5
2012-S2 -7.3
2013-S1 -7.4
2013-S2 -0.4
2014-S1 0.3
2014-S2 0.1
2015-S1 1.4
2015-S2 11.4
2016-S1 3.3
2016-S2 5.5
2017-S1 12.7
2017-S2 0.3
2018-S1 11.4
2018-S2 9.6
2019-S1 12.8
2019-S2 -0.7
2020-S1 8.5
  • Note: this graph illustrates the opinion balances of industrials surveyed for the second time on their expected investment for the following semester (January and July surveys)

Opinion of industrialists regarding six-month change in investment (second estimate)

  • Note: this graph illustrates the opinion balances of industrials surveyed for the second time on their expected investment for the following semester (January and July surveys)
  • Source: INSEE - Industrial investment survey.

For more information

The Survey results provide a picture of investment conditions in the industrial market sector. Investment in this sector, plays a key role as an engine of economic change, but accounts for only about a quarter of productive investment in France.

Reference: Insee Méthodes n°119 « The French survey on industrial investment: methodology ». Additional information (simplified and detailed methodology, nomenclature, etc.) is available on the “Documentation” tab of the web page of this publication.

Next issue: 7 May 2020.


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