The third-largest single market, China, has also recorded a high rate of growth in the current year. Machine exports increased by an impressive, nominal 23 percent in the first half of the year. However, due to the base effect, this rate is untenable. For 2018, VDMA is expecting a growth in exports in the mid single-digit percentage range. Considering the size of the market – 10 percent of German machine exports, or just under 8 percent of German production, go to China – the economy across the whole mechanical engineering sector in Germany will experience a loss of momentum. “This will have to be compensated by an increase in exports to other markets, something we believe is also possible,” says the VDMA Chief Economist.
Exports to EU partner countries have also increased in the first six months of the year. The reported plus of two percent can even be confirmed, as there are regularly significant late reports submitted after several months of delay. Exports to the United Kingdom have recently decreased (down 4 percent in the first six months). “For 2018, we expect a growth rate in the mid single-digit range for most EU countries. The economy in the EU has clearly picked up pace and there is a backlog of investments, particularly in the euro zone. The incoming orders from euro partner countries clearly point to a course of expansion, with the first seven months of the year recording a plus of 11 percent,” says Wiechers.
The group of developing and emerging nations (excluding China) also recorded an export increase of a nominal 5 percent in the first six months of 2017. “Here, we can see further potential for growth in 2018 for the majority of these countries. This includes Brazil, Russia and India, for example. The situation is less clear in Turkey, Mexico and Iran. A lot is dependent on future political activities,” the VDMA Chief Economist concludes.
The Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) represents over 3,200 mostly medium-sized companies in the mechanical and plant engineering sector. With over one million employees and sales amounting to approximately 220 billion euros (2016), the sector is the largest industrial employer in Germany and one of the leading German industrial sectors.