Print

European plastics market in 2009

Plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers in Europe: hopes for Recovery in 2010 after a Serious Fall in 2009.

- The slowdown in 2009 which Europe’s plastics and rubber equipment manufacturers had predicted turned out to be a deep slump and hit the branch much more than it expected at last year’s General Assembly in Bologna - said Bernhard Merki, President of EUROMAP, Europe’s association for plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers.

Though the downturn in new orders during the final quarter 2008 already affected some countries’ annual balance sheet, EUROMAP’s overall result for the year 2008 still was positive. Despite modest increase rates – a gain of 1.2% in total production and of 1.5% in exports - 2008 figures marked record values.

While core machinery as well as moulds and dies at 1.0 and 1.5% respectively almost showed the same pace, peripheral equipment – always lagging behind – was still up at 4.1%. Only flexographic printing machines displayed negative growth at -7.0%.
EUROMAP’s share in the global market in 2008 remained beyond 50% in world production and even grew to a peak value of 57% in world exports based on a declining overall export volume.

- In autumn 2009 new order income for plastics and rubber machinery is substantially down in all member countries of the European association. The use of production capacities is much lower than last year - explained Merki.

All over Europe the drop in demand from the automotive suppliers’ sector hit first and most noticeably. National scrappage schemes temporarily prevented the worst. Overall demand from customers in the field of construction was weak except for insulation. Packaging, too, was affected albeit packaging of consumer goods has developed better than industrial packaging. Medical applications proved to be a constantly growing market for plastics.

The majority of export marktes for the European manufacturers of plastics and rubber machinery showed weaknesses at the same time. During the first half of 2009 exports to Eastern Europe, to North and Latin America decreased on a large scale and at the same time and demand from customers in Asian countries could not compensate the loss. According to official statistics of German and Italian plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers the average export is down 35%.

Overall production is expected to fall by about 22% in 2009. The total EUROMAP production volume should thus decrease to approximately 13.6 billion Euros. - The strongest decrease expected by member countries is for the core machinery business at about 30%; this sector holds the biggest share at 62.7% - said Merki.

The European association is assuming that the decline in orders has now bottomed out. Sentiment and business expectations in the plastics and rubber converting industry have improved recently. - The demand for plastics and rubber machines slowly seems to be on the increase again - and yet financing remains an obstacle. The industry expects an upward trend in time for the K´2010 at the latest - explained Merki.