Germany’s machine tool industry is gaining renewed confidence for 2010. “Though the ongoing year is once again going to be a very difficult one, we nonetheless expect a significant upturn in business during the first half of the year”, says Martin Kapp, Chairman of the VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association).
“Since September, orders have improved month by month”, with fourth quarter of 2009 showing an increase of 12 per cent. Order levels have now risen by more than 60 per cent compared to its nadir in July/August 2009.
The recovery in demand is being driven by export orders and project business, with domestic demand stabilising more slowly.
“2009 went better for the German machine tool industry than originally feared, although the sector suffered an unprecedented slump”, reports VDW Chairman Kapp. Instead of the 40-per-cent fall in machine tool production anticipated in mid-2009, it was actually down 30 per cent at the end of the year, at 9.9 billion euros.
Germany’s machine tool industry is coming through this crisis in much better shape than was the case in earlier downturns. This is apparent not least in the fact that the German manufacturers have emphatically overtaken their principal competitors, Japan. Their machine tool production output fell twice as steeply as their German counterparts, by 60 per cent to around 5 billion euros, excluding parts and accessories. German manufacturers have slightly increased their share of the global market, and are now approximately 7 per cent in front of Japan in the rankings.