On the basis of estimates made by the specialist German association VDMA, exports by the five major supplier countries in the sector of metallurgical plants and rolling mills – China, Italy, Germany, Japan and the USA – rose by about 12% on average in 2018. The trend in world trade, which has grown to a total volume of €4.8 billion (provisional data), is slightly lower (approximately 8%). Notably China, Italy and the USA were able to boost deliveries by 20%, 17% and 10% respectively. Exports from Germany, the third largest exporter, were slightly above the previous year’s level, at €668 million*.
Exports from Germany to key markets rise in 2018
In 2018, the exports of German metallurgical plant and rolling mill equipment suppliers to several key markets grew strongly. For the second year in succession, deliveries to China grew by 19% to slightly more than €100 million. Starting from a low figure in the previous year, exports to the USA almost doubled, making the country the second-largest export market. Good growth was also recorded in trade with India (+55%), Russia (+31%) and Austria +135%). Equipment with a total value of €222 million was exported to the EU28 countries, representing a fall of 18% compared with the previous year. There was a sharp drop in exports to Turkey, which were down 81%. The situation with regard to trade with Latin America in 2018 was mixed. In North Africa and the Middle East, growth was also recorded (+43% and +28% respectively).
Sector wavering between optimism and scepticism
VDMA carried out a survey in the Metallurgical Plants and Rolling Mills sector. Despite better capacity deployment than in the previous year and largely positive expectations for production activities over the next three months, expectations for export business in the next three months have stagnated and sceptical opinions currently predominate.
“As trade policy uncertainties continue to grow, the question of the effects on raw material markets and metallurgical value chains is becoming more pressing and is having a negative impact on business in the metallurgical plant and rolling mills sector. While the industry is successfully pooling its resources in the fields of digitalization and environmental protection, the pressure on costs and the competition for specialist personnel remain challenging,” said Dr. Timo Würz, Managing Director of the VDMA Metallurgy specialist association, commenting on the situation.
* Value does not include entire plants.