German machines: decline in 2012, resuming next year

German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers expect sales to fall by two per cent in the current year, resulting in output of around 6,077 million euro. However, an early return to growth of 7 per cent to some 6,500 million euro is projected for 2013.
“As late as October last year, the VDMA Association had predicted sales to drop by 7 per cent in 2012. However, business performance in the second half of last year and in the first few months of 2012 proved better than anticipated, allowing us to revise our forecast,” explains Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the Association.

Sales generated with customers in Germany look set to be buoyant in both periods. Wage rises and a positive labour market trend have stimulated private consumption and hence demand for consumer products, Ulrich Reifenhäuser believes. “Underpinned by low interest rates investment activity in Germany continues to be brisk,” he goes on to say. “We expect the domestic investment climate to remain positive in 2013. Many German firms will reach capacity limits and are increasingly planning to invest for expansion”.

Temporary reverse on foreign markets

“Based on the high levels of investment worldwide in both 2010 and 2011 and weak growth in most of Western Europe, however, we expect foreign sales to decline in 2012,” adds Thorsten Kühmann, the Association’s Managing Director. But foreign demand is expected to pick up again next year.

As a result of above-average growth rates, German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers were able to expand their global market shares in 2011: exports grew by two percentage points to 25.3 per cent and output by one percentage point to 22 per cent. German manufacturers therefore continue to be well ahead in world exports, while the Chinese competitors maintain their lead in terms of output with a 30.5 per cent share.