Orders for German-made plastics and rubber machinery returned to growth in the last quarter of 2009, according to VDMA, the German Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association. The group is now predicting a markedly positive 2010.
Order intake grew by 35 percent in the fourth quarter an upbeat end to a rough year for German manufacturers of plastics and rubber machinery.
The sector rebounded in October, marking the first growth in demand since early 2008. That trend continued through the end of 2009. Frankfurt-based VDMA released the report March 10.
The stimulus came from countries outside Europe, said Ulrich ReifenhÃ¤user, VDMA chairman. Orders from customers in Germany and the euro area lag behind the previous year's figures.
ReifenhÃ¤user also is encouraged by the latest trend survey of the group's member firms, which shows a pickup in all sales areas in plastics and rubber machinery in the second half of 2009. The two previous surveys showed a marked decline in new orders.
Not only are the expectations now positive, but the assessment of the current situation has also improved significantly, ReifenhÃ¤user said. On this basis there is good reason to believe that the industry's volume of incoming orders and sales will end this year on a markedly positive note.
The plastics and rubber machinery sector had been one of Germany's first major manufacturing industries to feel the impact of the global recession, beginning in fall 2008, he said.
The increased order intake in the fourth quarter helped cushion the ongoing effect of the recession in full-year figures, VDMA said. Even so, orders for the full year were down by 28 percent from 2008 levels.
The association said demand was down 35 percent from customers in Germany, and 38 percent for the rest of the euro-zone countries. Exports orders from countries outside the euro-zone were down by 24 percent.
Last month, VDMA published 2009 sales for the plastics and rubber machinery sector showing a 30 percent decline vs. 2008, to 3.9 billion euros ($5.5 billion).
Meanwhile, VDMA's counterpart in Italy Assocomaplast also reported last month that sales of Italian plastics and rubber machinery, equipment and molds fell by 23.8 percent in 2009, to 3.2 billion euros ($4.4 billion).
However, Assocomoplast also expressed confidence for the future. A survey of its members showed that 81 percent expected to see growth during the first six months of 2010 compared with the year-before period.
Plastics machinery makers worldwide will be hoping that the K show, which takes place later this year in Dusseldorf, Germany, will encourage orders. K show organizer Messe Dusseldorf GmbH, which opened online ticket sales this month, said it expects K 2010 to attract about 3,000 exhibitors.
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