The German Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association VDMA says its members see "a great deal of optimism" in 2014, and are predicting record sales for the year.
The Frankfurt-based group said its only major reservation is with the sluggish machinery market in Asia — with the exception of China, which is still fairly robust.
"Based on association forecasts, sales are set to grow by 6 percent to 6.9 billion euros in 2014," said Ulrich Reifenhäuser, VDMA's chairman and the managing director of Troisdorf, Germany-based Reifenhäuser GmbH & Co. Maschinenfabrik, a major manufacturer of extrusion equipment.
VDMA also reported its year-end sales for 2013, in a news release dated Feb. 11.
According to the report, German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers reported that sales were basically flat last year — down 1 percent from the record 2012 level of 6.5 billion euros.
"For the year as a whole, incoming orders exactly matched the previous year's total, albeit with a rising trend. As far as domestic orders were concerned, there was ground to be made up throughout the year," said Thorsten Kühmann, managing director of the association.
"Demand from abroad, on the other hand, stabilized, especially in the second half of the year. It is pleasing to note in this context that the rate of growth in orders from euro area countries accelerated sharply."
Exports showed growth in 2013, up 4.1 percent over the previous ear.
"Our top sales markets are proving very strong: China is more than making up for last year's dip in growth and the U.S. is also growing faster than average. The major South Asian markets — India, Indonesia and Thailand — are experiencing a pause in growth. Within the [European Union], our members' reports confirm the rates of growth in exports to Italy, Spain and Portugal," Reifenhäuser said.