Spirits up; numbers still need to catch up

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September 24, 2009

Sentiment among officials at German manufacturers of plastics and rubber processing machinery has improved, and even demand and orders booked for some companies, but the market continues to show the strains of the last year’s tough times. “Machinery manufacturers are reporting an increase in terms of project discussions and say that they are being asked to tender again. Business is looking up in a number of customer industries,” said Ulrich Reifenhäuser, chairman of the Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association within the country’s machinery manufacturers’ association, the VDMA (Frankfurt, Germany), which represents 200 manufacturers accounting for more than 90% of the country’s output. With about a 25% market share, Germany’s machine manufacturers are the market leader in plastics processing machinery.

“The business expectations for German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers have also improved in recent weeks,” continued Reifenhäuser, who also is chairman of the extruder manufacturing group of the same name. But expectations don’t yet mean things are rosy, as the order drop that started last year and gained speed in Fall 2008 and early 2009 has not yet been overcome. Compared to the same period in 2008, orders for German plastics and rubber machinery fell by 47% in the period from January to June 2009, with domestic orders (down 42%) holding up slightly better than exports (down 48%). Over the same period, sales fell by 28%. The decline affects most of the major markets (China -34.7%, U.S.A. -50.0%, Russia -41.9%). For the year the Association expects sales to fall by 40% compared to 2008. [email protected]

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