Frankfurt am Main, Germany – Germany’s rubber industry managed to grow sales by 2.2-percent, to €11.56 billion, during 2015 amid “more or less stable” trading conditions, industry association the WDK has reported.
However, sales for the first three months of 2016 fell 2 percent on the prior-year first quarter, with WDK now forecasting growth of just 1 percent for the sector this year.
Most of the growth in 2015 was achieved during the second half of the year, helped by a pick-up in exports the Frankfurt-based body said in a 27 June review of the sector.
Overseas sales came in at €3.6 billion, 2.7 percent higher than in 2014 – helped particularly by robust demand from the US.
Sales in the German market lifted 1.9 percent to €7.97 billion, with tire makers reporting higher sales to the automotive industry and the replacement market.
Worldwide, though, the picture was more mixed for German-based tire manufacturers: while sales rose in both unit and value terms overall, the aftermarket remained weak.
General rubber goods manufacturers, meanwhile, made significant progress in export markets, added the WDK report.
Despite the higher sales, domestic production fell by 0.6 percent, said the WDk. This, it noted, indicates a decline in the competitiveness of Germany as a location for tire and rubber manufacturers.
As further evidence of this trend, the industry association noted a 0.7-percent year-on-year drop in employment in the sector to 75,300.