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German foundry machinery – BACK ON TRACK FOR GROWTH

VDMA Metallurgy reports on the latest economic situation in the German foundry machinery sector.

In 2017, sales of German foundry equipment manufacturers recovered considerably, by six per cent compared with the previous year. This was principally due to a rise in sales to countries outside the Eurozone, which grew by 25 per cent on average compared with 2016. On average during the course of the year, orders received rose by three per cent, starting from the strong base reached in the previous year. While there was a slight fall in orders from Germany, the positive trend in orders from the Eurozone continued.

World trade in foundry machinery stagnated in 2017

The five largest supplier countries for foundry machinery – Japan, China, Italy, Germany and South Korea – recorded a decline of 1.5 per cent in exports last year. Based on an estimate by the foundry machinery specialist association, worldwide trade in the sector stagnated in 2017*.

Slight fall in German exports in 2017

In 2017, there was a slight fall of 2.3 per cent in German exports of foundry machinery. However, this was the result of special effects on exports to Sweden, which was coming to an end. Without this special effect, exports to the 28-member EU would have risen by almost 3 per cent. Growth was recorded especially in exports to Austria (up by 42 per cent) and Italy (up by 138 per cent) as well as to certain Eastern European countries (Romania 37, Slovakia 21, Hungary 42 per cent).

The export figure for the sector determined on the basis of customs statistics for Germany, was €158 million**. In addition, deliveries to Mexico rose markedly (by 71 per cent), while trade with China declined by 19 per cent compared with the previous year. Growth was also recorded in exports to Iran and South Africa but starting from a much lower base.

Sales growth up to 12 per cent expected in 2018

Assuming that the present geopolitical risks do not lead to unforeseen events, the foundry machinery sector can expect further positive developments in the current year. The ifo business confidence index for foundries in Germany also supports this positive opinion. The business confidence trend curve for the respondent group ‘foundries’ became more positive during the course of 2017 and at the beginning of the new year, in line with growing capacity utilisation.

The majority of participants in the current economic situation survey of the specialist association expect growth in sales in the current year. On average, growth could exceed 10 per cent. Further growth in orders received is also expected in the course of the year, but in the low single-digit range.

“Despite all the optimism, manufacturers of foundry machinery will face increasingly diverse new challenges – especially the expected changes in the mobility mix. In addition, apart from digitalisation, the increasingly wide range of materials and the integration of additive technologies will make considerable demands on the innovation dynamics and expertise of specialists in the sector,” said Dr Timo Würz, managing director of VDMA, the metallurgy specialist association.

Contact: Ines Polak, VDMA Metallurgy, Germany. Tel +49 69 66 03 1237, email: [email protected] web: Twitter: @VDMAonline
*Worldwide export data for 2017 is not yet available in full (values from countries such as India, Russia and Turkey are missing).

**The nomenclature of official statistics means that it is not possible to give an overall figure for foundry machinery exports. The areas of ‘sand preparation systems for foundries’ and ‘production of moulds’ cannot be precisely defined in the export statistics and are not included in the data stated.