Outlook is positive for 2017; previous year ended on bright note – VDMA

German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers can look back over the past year with great satisfaction, according to VDMA in its latest press statement. It said that 2016 as a whole saw substantial growth in sales, continuing the positive trend of the past few years. “At 4%, growth is actually higher than the 2% originally anticipated,” says Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association. This positive result rounds off a year marked in particular by the excellent sentiment at the K trade fair in October, giving German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers grounds for continued optimism for the future.

US remains most important sales market

German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers’ exports to the US, already at a very high level, strengthened further. In the period from January to December 2016, sales of plastics and rubber machinery to America amounted to EUR774 million, an increase of 7.6%. The US therefore not only maintained its leading position among export markets, but also increased its lead over second-placed China.

At EUR629 million, German exports to China continued the trend of recent years, being down 3.6% in 2016. However, the sharp increase in VDMA members’ output produced in the country itself shows that China is still an important sales market. The marked rise in VDMA members’ exports from China also contributes to the drop in direct exports from Germany to that country.

Mexico ranked third among the most important countries buying German plastics and rubber machinery. In 2016, exports to Mexico were up by an impressive 51.9% to EUR255 million.

Russia bottoms out

The year 2016 saw German deliveries of plastics and rubber machinery to Russia shrink for the third year in succession. In the period from January to December 2016 they amounted to EUR86 million, down 36.3% on the previous year. However, the appreciable recovery in the Russian packaging sector as a direct consequence of Russian food sanctions suggests that exports of plastics and rubber machinery will pick up in 2017, since foodstuffs produced in Russia will need film or plastics packaging to preserve them. German exports to the Russian food products and packaging machinery sector were already up as 2016 drew to a close, indicating that sales to Russia have bottomed out.

Outlook for 2017 remains optimistic

The positive trend in German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturing will continue in the current year too. Thorsten Kühmann, Managing Director of VDMA, expects German manufacturers’ sales to rise by 2%, with global growth set to reach 3%. “With their products and new developments, German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers positioned themselves very favourably in 2016, the year of the K trade fair, providing the basis for the current year to end on a positive note as well,” concludes Kühmann.


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