World trade in foundry machinery on the upswing in 2018
According to estimates made by the specialist German association VDMA, world trade in the foundry machinery sector increased by 5% in 2018, to a level slightly above €2.3 billion*. On
average, exports from the five largest supplier countries of foundry machinery – China, Germany, Italy, Japan and South Korea – were above the value for 2017 last year (plus 8%). Deliveries from China (plus 5%) and Italy grew (by 15%), as well as German exports (up 11 percent on previous year).
German foundry machinery sales up by 17 percent
In 2018 as a whole, sales of the German foundry machinery manufacturers exceeded expectations, with growth of 17 percent nominally, reaching a new record. However, domestic production failed to keep pace, falling by 14 percent to €927 million (provisional figures).
Deliveries to the EU28 countries grew slightly by 6%, with these countries accounting for 44% in total exports by the sector. In addition to increased deliveries to Sweden (+48%), there was also significant growth in exports to the Iberian Peninsula, which more than doubled compared with the previous year.
2019: fall in sales expected in the single-digit range
As in many EU countries, the business climate in large areas of the world in key customer industries for castings, including machinery and automobile production, has once again
become more sluggish. In addition, it has not yet been possible to settle the conditions for Brexit or the trade dispute between China and the USA. A glance at purchasing manager
indices indicates a patchy scenario. While pessimism predominates in the EU, the indices in the BRIC countries, especially Brazil, Russia and India, in addition to the USA, are still above the growth threshold of 50 index points.
Starting from the very high value of the previous year, VDMA expects a fall in sales in the high single-digit range in 2019. Vigorous ordering following this year’s GIFA, the main industry showcase, will probably only counteract this trend by the end of the year at the earliest.
Foundry machinery manufacturers continue to face a wide range of challenges. "In addition to the many barriers to trade and associated deterioration in economic conditions, other issues include the further development of drive systems and e-mobility. Automation and digitalization are other focus topics, together with financing and support for research,” said Dr. Timo Würz, Managing Director of the Metallurgy specialist association VDMA.
* Worldwide export data for 2018 are not yet available in full (values from countries such as Singapore and Turkey are missing).