German machinery sales remain stable; but Asian sales down

Germany’s plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers ended 2013 with sales down by 1%, according to the industry’s association VDMA. As a result, turnover in core machinery manufacturing fell only slightly short of the most recent record of EUR6.5 billion, said the association.

Foreign deliveries rose again. In the period to November 2013 they were 4.1% above the previous year’s level, taking exports close to a new record of around EUR4.6 billion. That will push the export ratio above the 70% mark again.

The top sales markets were China, which is making up for last year’s dip in growth and the US is also growing faster than average, said Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association

The major South Asian markets – India, Indonesia and Thailand – are experiencing a pause in growth, while within the EU, the association says its members’ reports confirm the rates of growth in exports to Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Overall, Reifenhäuser said that the result for the year was largely in line with the forecast. “At K’2013 we predicted that the industry’s sales would be marginally below the 2012 level.”

Thorsten Kühmann, Managing Director of the Association said, “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. 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.”

Meanwhile, 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 6% to EUR6.9 billion in 2014,” concluded Reifenhäuser.


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