FRANKFURT, GERMANY (March 29, 1:15 p.m. ET) — Demand for German machinery from China's plastics and rubber processors rose to a record value of 766.4 million euros ($1.01 billion) in 2011, 30.5 percent higher than the 2010 figure.
“That is a new record for China and at the same time the [German] industry's highest volume of exports ever to a single country,” said Ulrich Reifenhäuser, chairman of the VDMA, the German Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association.
Announcing global export figures, Frankfurt-based VDMA hailed overall growth of 25.6 percent in 2010 and 30.5 percent in 2011 which took German machinery exports to 4.32 billion euros ($5.74 billion).
“As a result, two very good years for exports have now offset the slump of 2009 and the record set in 2008 has been significantly exceeded,” said Thorsten Kühmann, managing director of VDMA.
Exports to other countries in East Asia grew even faster than those to China. Deliveries to South Korea rose by 82.4 percent, ranking the country sixth among Germany's most important markets in 2011. Orders from customers in Taiwan also showed an above-average increase of 33.4 percent. Asia's share of German exports as a whole rose to 38.4 percent.
Other regions of the world also showed stronger demand for German plastics and rubber machinery.
Exports to the 27 European Union countries were up by 26.9 percent, with France, the main market, well ahead of Poland, Italy and Austria.
Deliveries to the rest of Europe also showed above-average growth of 36.7 percent. Russia, which has recovered markedly, and Turkey remain the region's most important customers.
Exports to North America increased by 30.7 percent, and to Central America by 48.3 percent, due chiefly to a surge in demand from Mexico. At 27.4 percent, the increase in exports to South America lagged slightly behind the average.
Other export increases were recorded in the Near and Middle East (11.2 percent) and South East Asia (23.0 percent).
Only North Africa recorded a drop in sales (down 7.5 percent), a consequence of the Arab Spring, says VDMA. The decline in deliveries to the largest customer, Egypt, played a particular part in this.
VDMA also noted fast growth in deliveries by foreign manufacturers of plastics and rubber machinery to customers in Germany. Imports rose by 49.5 percent to 946 million euros ($1.25 billion), with the main supplier countries being Austria, Switzerland and Italy.