Buoyed by the results for 2016 announced June 22, German plastics and rubber machinery manufacturers are viewing 2017 with optimism.
According to the latest report from the German plastics and rubber machinery association VDMA, exports grew 5.1 percent in 2016 to over 4.9 billion euros ($5.4 billion).
Registering 15 percent growth in incoming orders in the first quarter of 2017, VDMA foresees a 4 percent rise in sales for this year, to 7.7 billion euros ($8.6 billion).
The association also expects growth to continue in 2018, albeit at a slower pace, at 3 percent to 8 billion euros ($8.9 billion).
In 2016, German production value was up 6 percent to 7.4 billion euros ($8.2 billion), almost twice that of global production value, which grew 3.1 percent at 34.9 billion euros ($38.9 billion).
The U.S. remained the top importer of German machinery, with imports up 7.6 percent to 774 million ($863.4 million).
China, although still the second biggest importer saw figures decline for a third consecutive year, climbing to 629 million euros ($701.6 million).
The decline in sales to China continued for the first quarter of 2017, although VDMA, without giving figures, has claimed that deliveries to the Chinese market will be growing for the rest of 2017.
Mexico overtook Poland to take the third place among German machinery importers with a sharp 52 percent rise in orders to 255 million ($284.5 million).
The German machinery industry also witnessed a new upswing in machinery exports to developing countries that produce raw materials, due to increased raw material prices.
Deliveries to Russia also increased, signalling a rebound in the Russian economy.
In general, global trade in plastics and rubber machinery grew 1 percent in 2016, of which Germany's share rose to 22.8 percent. China's share in the machinery market fell to 14.7 percent, VDMA reported.
German machinery imports also grew strongly, by 8.9 percent to 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion).