Germany's plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers retained their export dominance in 2014, while domestic orders rose 18 percent last year, according to trade association, the VDMA.
Germany remained the world's most dominant exporter of machinery in 2014, with a share of 23.8 percent of the market, nearly twice as much as its nearest competitor, China, at 12.9 percent — with Chinese export volumes including foreign deliveries by German manufacturers based in the country.
Looking ahead, the VDMA said it was sticking with an earlier overall growth forecast for 2015 of 4 percent, said VDMA chairman Ulrich Reifenhäuser.
Exports were also expected to rise by 4 percent in 2015 and 2 percent next year, the trade body said, with China and the U.S. expected to see moderate improvement, while Russia's slide continues.
VDMA managing director Thorsten Kühmann said last year business in Europe had compensated for sales declines in other parts of the world.
“At present things seem to have bottomed out in India and an upturn is in sight. Brazil and Mexico have also shown signs of recovery in the last few months.
“After pausing for breath in 2014, we expect the industry's two most important customer markets, China and the U.S., to recover with moderate rates of growth. Exports to Russia on the other hand are set to decline further.
“But we still expect the other sales markets in Eastern Europe to remain buoyant.”
The VDMA said that domestic orders had recovered sharply in 2014, up 18 percent and “appreciably higher” than those from overseas customers, according to Reifenhäuser.
Meanwhile growing demand in Germany benefitted the country's overseas competitors, he said.
“After declining for a number of years, imports of plastics and rubber machinery by customers in Germany rose by an impressive 19.5 percent in 2014,” he added.