Coming after a strong 2004, the slowing Chinese economy this year should translate into a modest 2.5 percent decline in 2005 for European plastics and rubber machinery, according to the Euromap trade association.
The forecast, issued July 27 by Euromap, shows how important China has become as an export market for injection molding machines, extruders and other types of equipment. For Germany, the largest European economy and plastics equipment powerhouse, Asia now consumes one-third of all exported plastics and rubber machinery.
``With great concern we observe the strong decrease of incoming orders from customers in China,'' said Euromap President Ulrich ReifenhÃ¤user. ``Obviously, measures taken by the Chinese government to cool the booming economy are now showing an impact.''
In 2004, total European production of plastics and rubber machinery grew by 2.6 percent, to reach 16.1 billion euros ($20 billion).
The 2004 core processing machinery market accounted for 10.2 billion euros ($12.7 billion) of the total, up 6 percent from 2003. Auxiliary equipment increased by 5.4 percent, to 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 billion).
Euromap also reported that molds and dies declined by 4.7 percent, to 4.3 billion euros ($5.3 billion).
And 2004 was a strong year for exports from Euromap countries. Global exports grew 9.6 percent over 2003. Exports totaled 10.9 billion euros ($13.5 billion). Main export markets for European-built machines were China, the new European Union members in Eastern Europe and Russia, and oil-exporting countries of the Middle East, especially Iran.
Euromap is in Frankfurt, Germany. It represents machinery makers in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.