Signs of slowdown, but Q3 still robust for welding markets


There was a continued solid picture for gas and welding distributors in the third quarter of 2023, with conditions looking robust by most measures though also some signs of slowdown and growing caution when set against Q2. Pricing was higher for welding hardgoods (up 1.9% over the same period last year) and gases (up 4.1% on a year earlier), while hardgoods volumes were up by 2% and gases by 3.3%.

The findings come from the Baird/gasworld Q3 2023 Welding and Industrial Gas Survey, which collated the views of 14 executives at industrial, scientific, and welding gas/hardgoods distributors and manufacturers with combined annualized revenues of around $3.5bn. Respondents this time around were distributed across the US, with minimal operations in Canada (the database of possible respondents is more evenly balanced). The Midwest and South were the two most represented regions in the responses on this occasion.

The figures and sentiment on show for Q3 show a further moderating of full-year expectations for both hardgoods and gas sales versus earlier surveys. The sentiment captured in the Q3 survey is for a 4.6% increase in sales for the full year versus 2022, down from an expectation of 4.9% for the full year growth figure captured in the Q2 survey, and 8.3% captured in the Q1 report. On the gas side, however, there is an uptick in sentiment: the expectations are for an 8.2% increase in year-on-year sales by the year-end. That is up from an expectation of a 7.4% full-year uplift recorded in the Q2 survey. 

“…I expect there will be fewer and smaller price increases in 2024.”

All these figures are in the context of the current inflationary environment, it should be noted.

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