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08-12-2020

VDMA: Plastics And Rubber Machinery in Descending Flight

Revenue Losses for 2020 of up to Minus 30 %

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"After 11 long years of growth, however, this cutback no longer comes as a surprise to anyone in the industry," summarizes Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association of the VDMA. "In many important customer industries, above all in the automotive industry, the signs pointed to a reluctance to invest, which has been clearly reflected in the order books for some time now. Added to this is the image problem of plastics", Reifenhäuser continues.

Now, in addition to this difficult situation, there is also the Corona pandemic. By June 2020 there are already 20 % fewer orders on the books than in the previous year. "The pandemic has now done the rest to those customer industries that were already doing badly before. However, we are also observing that many plastics and rubber machines are being supplied to the medical technology and packaging sectors in particular in times of the corona crisis, explains Thorsten Kühmann, Managing Director of the VDMA trade association.

Improved Image of Plastics

Wherever hygiene comes into play, the plastic shows its advantages. "This leads to a perceptible image improvement in society," says Kühmann happily. "However, we are also aware that there is currently an exceptional situation and that the image change will not have a long-term effect". The industry laid the foundation for long-term change and a commitment to the recycling industry as early as last October at the K trade fair.

Markets shift

In the first five months of the current year, German exports of plastics and rubber machinery remained 19 % below those of the previous year. Deliveries declined by China and the USA by 3 % each due to corona. Positive signals are again evident for the Chinese market, while the current decline in exports to the USA is only the beginning. The effects of the European countries strongly affected by the corona virus are also reflected in the export statistics. Deliveries to Italy (- 31 %), France (- 42 %) and Spain (- 48 %) fell significantly. However, considerably fewer machines were also delivered to India (- 73 %). The markets that saw above-average increases in German plastics and rubber machinery sales in the first five months of 2020 compared with the same period last year were Russia (+ 28 %) and Turkey (+ 102 %).

The future remains challenging...

The corona pandemic alone offers enough uncertainty for further economic development, as the threat of a second wave is still present. This is compounded by the bleak outlook for the automotive industry and the continuing tense trade relations between the USA and China, which are having a negative impact on the export-oriented mechanical engineering industry. The adopted plastics tax is further clouding the situation. It is no wonder that the majority of manufacturers of plastics and rubber machinery stated that they were expecting a drop in sales of up to 30 % in 2020.

... but also offers opportunities

First, the European Union successfully set the course for positive economic development with the agreement of the heads of state and government on a reconstruction plan to counter the economic consequences of the Corona crisis. The capacity for action that this gives is a strong signal.
At almost 80 %, the clear majority of plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers expect a return to the sales level of 2019 by 2022 at the latest. Quite a few see this happening as early as next year. For the second half of 2020, many already expect a revival in incoming orders from the regions of Western Europe and China. These are already the first signs of a turnaround.

In addition, the mechanical engineering companies will continue to play their part in implementing a successful recycling economy. The industry's innovative strength is unbroken and will continue to lead the mechanical engineering companies out of this crisis.

Additional information
Company profile

VDMA Fachverband für Kunststoff- und Gummimaschinen

Lyoner Str. 18
DE 60528 Frankfurt

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