Germany – VDMA, Germany's Mechanical Engineering Industry Association, forecasts five percent real growth for 2018.
The mechanical engineering industry in Germany has been experiencing a boom since 2017 and expects the strong economy to continue throughout 2018, despite all the national and international uncertainties, said VDMA President Carl Martin Welcker at the association's business press conference at the beginning of the Hannover Messe, Germany, in April. “In light of these rather dynamic incoming orders, which are now slowly turning into turnover, along with the good prospects for demand, VDMA is increasing its production forecast from plus three to plus five percent in real terms,” Welcker explained.
The association adjusted the expected growth of three percent in 2017 to 3.9%, thanks to a strong fourth quarter last year, in which orders increased by ten percent, Welcker noted. He added that this increase is primarily a result of growth in exports and the country's competitive ability.
Mechanical engineering in Germany depends heavily on exports; more than three-quarters of all produced goods are exported. For Germany's export list last year, China took the lead as importing country (23%), followed by USA (12%), while exports to the EU-partner countries amounted to 5.1%. These positive figures allowed for a machine utilisation of 87.9% in the country, which is said to be the highest noted since 2013.
For 2018, Welcker said that VDMA is increasing its production forecast to five percent, even despite declines in business with Great Britain, where exports fell by three percent in 2017 already.