Trade frictions between the U.S. and China have begun casting a shadow over the metal mold industry, which shores up the manufacturing industry. According to the 17th mold survey conducted by Nihon Keizai Shimbun in March, 36.1% of respondents said they are “affected” by the U.S.-China trade disputes. Japanese metal mold manufacturers are mostly small- or medium-sized companies. The global trade issue is dealing an additional blow to the metal mold industry, which is already suffering from intensifying global competition and having trouble finding successors. Nihon Keizai Shimbun sent a questionnaire to 415 member companies of the Japan Die & Mold Industry Association by mail during February and March. There were 151 responses. The retrieval rate was 36.4%.
In the survey, respondents were asked whether they have been affected by the U.S.-China friction. To this question, a total of 20.8% answered “no,” with 43.1% saying they “don’t know.”
A die maker which molds connectors for machine tools in the Hokuriku region says its sales during January and February 2019 decreased by roughly 30%. “Sales were strong until last year, but we’re feeling the effect of customers reducing production,” the company’s official said. Many of the machine tools using the company’s connectors are sold in China. So the company was affected by a decline in demand due to the U.S.-China friction.
An official of Nissin Precision Machines, which manufactures press metal molds for auto parts in Tokyo’s Ota Ward, says, “We’re receiving fewer orders from suppliers for major auto parts companies affiliated with Toyota Motor.”