DUSSELDORF, GERMANY - German resin production, after rebounding strongly last year from a disastrous 1993, leveled off in the first half of 1995 with plant-utilization rates declining from 1994's healthy 95 percent, according to data from the country's Association of the Plastics Producing Industry. That body, the Verband Kunststofferzeugende Industrie e.V., or VKE, said in a statement released at K'95 in Dusseldorf that further restructuring by Germany's resin industry should result in a 2.3 percent reduction in jobs in 1995, to about 57,700 employees in 60 plastics producing and marketing companies. This follows a 7.7 percent drop in 1994 from the previous year.
Resin exports from Germany dipped 8.8 percent in the first half of 1995, from 1994's fourth quarter, while resin imports fell only 6.5 percent. As a result, VKE said, the country's balance of trade for plastics materials deteriorated by 20 percent.
Lower resin demand in Germany's key plastics-consuming end markets has driven this year's growth slowdown. First-half resin demand in the automotive industry increased 9.9 percent, compared with 16.6 percent a year earlier, while the electrical industry has increased demand just 0.5 percent, compared with 5.5 percent in 1994's first six months, VKE said. Meanwhile, Germany's construction trade and its foodstuffs and luxury-goods market sectors have suffered sales declines.
Strong exports spurred 1994's recovery. German resin makers saw their exports last year jump 26 percent over 1993, to 14.1 billion pounds of material, worth about 15.9 billion deutsche marks ($11.5 billion).
Overall, German producers took advantage of their high capacity-utilization rates to turn out 24.3 billion pounds in 1994, up 15 percent over the previous year. In value terms, 1994's production was worth DM 25.3 billion ($18.3 billion), an increase of 13.8 percent over 1993, when German resin output hit rock bottom.