German plastics materials producers saw a business turnaround in 2013, following a decline in production and sales in 2012.
Production volume increased by 1.7 percent to 19.8 million metric tons in 2013, while total sales at German producers rose by 5.8 percent to 26.7 billion euros $36.6 billion) due to increased energy and raw material costs, the PlasticsEurope Deutschland trade association announced at a briefing on May 14.
The growth in 2013 contrasted with a contraction in 2012, when production fell by 3.6 percent to 19.5 million metric tons and sales slipped by 0.8 percent to 25.1 billion euros ($34.4 billion).
At 7.5 percent, turnover grew faster for German producers' overseas operations in 2013, compared with 3.7 percent in domestic growth. Exports from Germany rose 1.9 percent to 12.2 million metric tons, while imports increased 1.8 percent to 8.5 million tonnes, resulting in an 8 billion euro ($10.9 billion) export surplus. As in 2012, European Union states accounted for 72 percent of exports and 87 percent of imports.
Josef Ertl, chairman of PlasticsEurope Deutschland, said there are clouds on the horizon and opportunities for Germany's polymer producers.
Risks include: continuously rising energy costs; E.U. policies too often perceiving plastic as causing problems rather than providing solutions; and the political crisis in Ukraine. For these reasons, alongside South American instability and cooling of the Chinese economy, Ertl told European Plastics News there are too many uncertainties for the association to forecast 2014 results, beyond expecting further increased production.
Nonetheless, a representative survey showed more than two-thirds positive about plastics and the plastics industry — 71 percent for plastics as a material and 68 percent for the plastics industry.