China is one of the largest export markets for the German plastics processing machinery industries. Therefore, the VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association has been keeping close eye on the latest developments related to the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the German industry association, no member company maintains production facilities in the particularly affected Hubei region, and also no member has yet reported a coronavirus inflected case.
The Managing Director of VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association, Thorsten Kühmann, shared his views on the market situation and CHINAPLAS 2020 with CPRJ, the official media of CHINAPLAS:
The importance of the Chinese market not changed
Regarding when the market will return to normal, Thorsten Kühmann, Managing Director, commented that many member companies expect the situation to slowly level off again in March, and the outbreak “does not change the fundamental importance of the Chinese market for our industry in the future”.
The industry trade fair CHINAPLAS 2020 is rescheduled to take place on August 3-6, 2020 at the National Exhibition and Convention Center (NECC), in Hongqiao, Shanghai.
VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association is one of the co-organizers of the CHINAPLAS 2020 concurrent event “Industry 4.0 Factory of the Future”.
Thorsten Kühmann believes the iconic industry trade fair “can certainly provide a positive impulse” especially when the Chinese economy is weakening as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The German plastics machinery industry recorded a decline of about 6% in sales for last year. Thorsten Kühmann expects the downturn to bottom out by the end of 2020 due to increasing investments in the automotive sector, but trade barriers remain a problem.
“Sales increases as a result of the investments will not occur before beginning of 2021. We therefore also expect a decline in sales in 2020 in the range of 2019,” he said.
No significant delivery problems so far due to coronavirus
VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association said the coronavirus outbreak has not yet led to significant delivery problems in the German mechanical engineering industry.
However, due to the long throughput times in mechanical engineering, it is possible that “these difficulties will only really become apparent in the coming weeks”.
The coronavirus outbreak has not yet led to significant delivery problems in the German mechanical engineering industry.
Apart from slower production from many suppliers in other industries, the mechanical engineering companies are also facing the challenges of logistics restrictions.
At present, companies in Germany can still compensate for these difficulties by switching to other production locations or suppliers, but Thorsten Kühmann remarked that “the situation must be reassessed from week to week”.