FRANKURT, GERMANY — German machine builders are optimistic for 2000, after ending 1999 on a stronger-than-expected market, according to VDMA, the Association of German Plastics and Rubber Machinery Manufacturers.
"Orders from abroad rose strongly in the second half of 1999 and resulted in an upward correction in the volume of orders in hand," said Bernd Knorr, VDMA's executive director.
In the report, issued in March, VDMA was expecting only a small production drop of 4 percent for 1999, compared with exceptional results for the previous year.
Frankfurt-based VDMA was optimistic about 2000, predicting 5 percent growth in machinery production. Exports, which rebounded in last year's third quarter after several months of decline, should account for most of the gain.
Capacity utilization continues to run at more than 90 percent.
VDMA gave the following breakdown:
Injection molding machines. Growth paused after two back-to-back record years. Output for 1999 was down about 7 percent from 1998, but fourth-quarter orders rebounded, on strong exports.
Blow molding machines and extruders both increased in 1999. German suppliers reported big increases in machines sold to the United States, Egypt and a number of Arab countries and Singapore.