"This welcome year-end result exceeds our expectations," Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association, was pleased to announce. "At the midpoint of the year we were still anticipating a slight decline in sales for 2012 (down two per cent), while predicting a fairly strong recovery in 2013," he recalled. "Developments in the second half of the year resulted in a change in momentum."
"For the year as a whole, incoming orders lagged 12 per cent behind the previous year. But the decline slowed over the last few months, and in the final quarter of 2012 they matched the previous year's level," commented Thorsten Kühmann, Managing Director of the Association. "In an end-of-year survey only one fifth of respondents from the Association complained of production problems owing to a lack of or insufficient orders," he added.
Deliveries to other countries also rose again. By November 2012 they were 3.1 per cent higher than the previous year; exports too are therefore set to reach a new record of some 4.4 billion euro. "We are witnessing a revival of traditional markets - with German manufacturers experiencing above-average growth in the US and even in the EU, where Poland has become the largest market. In South East Asia, Thailand and Indonesia in particular are conspicuous for their high levels of growth, whereas sales to China and India are on the decline," said Ulrich Reifenhäuser.
More than one half (52 per cent) of plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers created net new jobs at their plants in Germany in the second half of 2012; in the first half of the year the corresponding figure as as high as 65 per cent. As far as the current half-year is concerned, more than one third of respondents, a still respectable 38 per cent, expect to take on more staff while the proportion of firms planning no change is even higher at 40 per cent.
The half-yearly trend survey among Association members shows that demand for plastics and rubber machinery is up slightly in the second half of the year compared with the previous six months. Respondents are much more optimistic in their expectations for growth in orders in the first half of 2013 than they were just six months ago. Their only doubts concern the markets in Western Europe. "For 2013, the year of the next K trade fair, the Association predicts sales growth of 3 per cent," concluded Ulrich Reifenhäuser.