ERJ staff report (DS)
Brussels - General rubber goods production in the EU is recovering from the 2008 crisis, but only slowly. Meanwhile imports of tyres are taking a larger share of the local market, according to new statistics from the European Tyre & Rubber Manufacturers' Association.
The total volume of rubber goods (excluding tyres) made in the EU in 2011 was 1.662 million tonnes, up by 3 percent from 2010 when the figure was 1.61 m tonnes. The depth of the crisis is shown by the equivalent figure in 2007 when the violume was 1..81m tonnes. That declined in 2008 to 1.67m and then by 21 percent to 1.31m tonnes in 2009.
Of the top four producing nations, only Germany shows a volume increase above the pre-crisis figure. German production in 2011 was 830kt, compared with the 2007 figure of 793kt. France is almost back to the pre-crisis level, reporting 390kt in 2011 compared with 398kt in 2007. Italy was especially hard-hit, reporting 259kt in 2011 compared with 392 kt in 2007. Spain has also suffered, reporting 183 kt in 2011 compared with 232 kt in 2007.
EU exports of non-tyre rubber goods represented 336,000 tonnes worth euro 3344 million; an average value of euro 9.95/kg. Imports showed a volume of 647kt worth euro 3477 million; an average value of euro 5.37/kg. The discrepancy is due to the value added by EU companies by importing polymer and compound and exporting finished goods.
In tyres, the number of tyres made in the EU has recovered since the 2008 crisis but still is below the 2008 level. Furthermore, imports are taking an increasing share of the market. ETRMA said sales of ETRMA members reached an all-time low of 77 percent of the total car and light truck segment and 81 percent in the truck and bus segment
In the car and light truck segment imports from China have been increasing rapidly and reached 50 million units in 2011, up by 25 percent on the previous year, which was itself an increase of 40 percent on the 2009 figure.
The truck tyre segment saw a similar pattern with imports in 2011 reaching 2 million units, an increase of 39 percent on the prior year, which came on top of a 34 percent increase a year earlier.
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