VDMA Germany sets import, export records for plastics & rubber-processing equipment

Editor: Eric Culp

The German engineering federation VDMA said domestic manufacturers of plastics and rubber machinery reported the highest exports in history last year thanks to voracious Asian demand, and processors in Europe’s industrial heartland bought more foreign equipment than ever.

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German 2011 exports of plastics and rubber machinery compared to the previous year in parentheses. (Source: VDMA)
German 2011 exports of plastics and rubber machinery compared to the previous year in parentheses. (Source: VDMA)

Exports of plastics and rubber machinery rose by 30.5% to €4.3 billion last year, according to data from Germany’s Federal Statistical Office. The record followed a 25.6% increase in deliveries abroad the previous year. “As a result, two very good years for exports have now offset the slump of 2009, and the record set in 2008 has been significantly exceeded,” said Thorsten Kühmann, managing director of the VDMA.

Imports of plastics and rubber machinery to Germany rose 49.5% in 2011 to a record €946 million. The main supplier countries were Austria, Switzerland and Italy, the VDMA said.

China played a significant role in Germany’s export growth spurt. After surging more than 60% in 2010, German sales to the People’s Republic jumped over 30% last year to €766.4 million, an indication of the trading partner’s importance. “That is a new record for China and at the same time the industry’s highest volume of exports ever to a single country,” said Ulrich Reifenhäuser, chairman of the VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association.East Asia as a whole recorded strong growth of 40.9%, with deliveries to South Korea skyrocketing 82.4%.

Orders from Taiwan increased 33.4%, and Asia’s share of German exports as a whole rose to 38.4%.Almost all sales regions contributed to the 2011 growth, according to the VDMA. Exports to the EU 27 were up by 26.9%, with France, the main market, well ahead of Poland, Italy and Austria. Deliveries to the rest of Europe gained 36.7%. Russia, which the VDMA said has recovered markedly, and Turkey remain the region’s most important customers.

Exports to North America gained 30.7%, and Central America’s growth rate of 48.3% was said to be due chiefly to a spike in Mexican demand. The 24.7% increase in exports to South America lagged slightly behind the average.With growth of around 11.2%, the Near and Middle East has stabilised again in some countries, the VDMA noted. India generated most of the growth in Central and South Asia. In South East Asia, where exports were up 23%, Thailand led purchases, ahead of Indonesia

Only North Africa recorded a drop in sales (down 7.5%), a consequence of the Arab Spring. The decline in deliveries to the largest customer, Egypt, played a significant role in the retreat.


Frankfurt/Main, Germany


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