Germany's plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers ended 2013 with sales down by one per cent. As a result, turnover in core machinery manufacturing fell only slightly short of the most recent record of 6.5 billion euro.
"The result for the year is largely in line with our forecast," said Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association. "At K 2013 we predicted that the industry's sales would be marginally below the 2012 level."
"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," commented 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.
Foreign deliveries rose again. In the period to November 2013 they were 4.1 per cent above the previous year's level, taking exports close to a new record of around 4.6 billion euro. That will push the export ratio above the 70 per cent mark again.
"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.
The half-yearly survey of economic trends conducted among the Association's member firms shows a great deal of optimism at the start of 2014. Demand for plastics and rubber machinery picked up in the second half of 2013, and demand from Western and Eastern Europe and from North America in the current half-year is considered very favourable. There is confidence in the German market and renewed growth is also expected for Latin America. The only major reservations at present concern the markets in Asia with the exception of China. "Based on Association forecasts, sales are set to grow by six per cent to 6.9 billion euro in 2014," concluded Ulrich Reifenhäuser.