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Plastics and rubber with excellent global growth perspectives

German-speaking countries are leading technology providers, China dominates the machinery market

In 2015, the total production value of plastics and rubber machines amounted to EUR 33.9 billion (2014: EUR 32.5 billion). European plastics machinery manufacturers generated 40 (40)%, which constitutes a production value of EUR 13.6 (13) billion. According to Euromap, the association of machinery manufacturers from Austria, France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Luxemburg, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey, European manufacturers held their leading position with nearly 50% of the global market for plastics machines. Despite the market's unpredictability, Euromap is confident that in 2016, the market will experience a 3% increase in global production to EUR 34.9 billion with European production figures rising by 2% to EUR 13.8 billion.

In 2015, China was the largest individual nation in terms of production value, representing 32.5%, followed by Germany with 20.7%, Italy with 7.8% and the US with 7.2%. German machinery manufacturers are leading the global market, representing 22% of global export, ahead of China (15%), Japan and Italy (both 9%) and the US (6%).

European plastics industry relatively stable

In 2014, the plastics industry of the EU-28, with a total of 1.45 million employees and 62,000 predominately small and medium-sized businesses, generated sales of EUR 350 billion and contributed EUR 18 billion to the EU's trade surplus. These figures, compiled by PlasticsEurope, are based on Eurostat statistics. According to this data, the most important export markets (outside of the EU) for plastics raw materials and plastics products were Turkey, China, the US, Russia and Switzerland. The most important non-EU import nations for raw materials were the US, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Switzerland and Japan, and plastics products were mainly imported from the US, Switzerland, China, Turkey and Japan.

According to figures from PlasticsEurope for 2014, the European packaging industry consumed 39.5% of polymer materials, which constitutes the largest proportion in Europe, followed by the construction industry with 20.1%, the automotive industry with 8.6%, E+E with 5.7% and agriculture with 3.4%. The consumption rates for all other consumer industries such as furniture production, medical engineering and manufactures of domestic appliances, toys, sports and leisure articles amounted to a total of 22.7%.

Still at the top of all plastics consumers in Europe are Germany (25%), Italy (14%), France (almost 10%), UK (almost 8%), Spain (7%) and Poland (6%).