German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers’ exports to the US, grew 7.6% to €774 million in the year 2016, increasing US’s lead over the second-place China.
German exports to China continued to decline in 2016, and at €629 million the sales fell 3.6%.
VDMA, however, noted that there was a sharp increase in its members’ output produced in their Chinese factories making the country “still an important sales market”.
Mexico ranked third among the most important countries buying German plastics and rubber machinery, with sales showing substantial rise of 51.9% to €255 million in 2016.
For a third year in a row, German deliveries of plastics and rubber machinery to Russia shrank in 2016. Sales to Russia fell 36.3% to €86 million in the 12-month period between January to December 2016.
However, VDMA predicted that sales to Russia will pick up as the packaging sector recovers from food sanctions.
“Foodstuffs produced in Russia will need film or plastics packaging to preserve them. German exports to the Russian food products and packaging machinery sector were already up as 2016 drew to a close, indicating that sales to Russia have bottomed out,” the report added.
VDMA predicted that the “positive trend” in German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturing will continue in the current year.
Thorsten Kühmann, managing director of the VDMA's plastics and rubber machinery division, expects German manufacturers’ sales in 2017 to rise by 2%, with global growth set to reach 3%.
“With their products and new developments, German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers positioned themselves very favourably in 2016, the year of the K trade fair, providing the basis for the current year to end on a positive note as well,” said Kühmann.