Germany’s plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers ended 2013 with sales down by 1%. As a result, turnover in the plastics machinery sector fell slightly short of the most recent record of €6.5 billion. However, in the period to November 2013, German exports were 4.1% above the previous year’s level, taking them close to a new record of around €4.6 billion euro. This pushes the export ratio above 70%, says VDMA, the German Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association, the group behind the market survey.
“Our top sales markets are proving very strong. China is more than making up for last year’s dip in growth and the US is also growing faster than average. The major South Asian markets – India, Indonesia and Thailand – are experiencing a pause in growth. Within the EU, our members’ reports confirm the rates of growth in exports to Italy, Spain and Portugal,” said Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the VDMA.
“For the year as a whole, incoming orders exactly matched the previous year’s total, albeit with a rising trend. As far as domestic orders were concerned, there was ground to be made up throughout the year,” said Thorsten Kühmann, Managing Director of the Association. “Demand from abroad on the other hand stabilised, especially in the second half of the year. It is pleasing to note in this context that the rate of growth in orders from euro area countries accelerated sharply,” he added.
“The result for the year is largely in line with our forecast,” said Ulrich Reifenhäuser. “At K 2013 we predicted that the industry’s sales would be marginally below the 2012 level.”
The half-yearly survey of economic trends conducted among the Association’s members shows a great deal of optimism going in to 2014. Demand for plastics and rubber machinery picked up in the second half of 2013, and early demand from Europe and North America since the start of 2014 is “very favourable” said the VDMA. There is confidence in the German market and renewed growth is also expected for Latin America. “Based on Association forecasts, sales are set to grow by 6% to 6.9 billion euro in 2014,” said Reifenhäuser.