German machine tool industry lifts optimism further

The order intake of Germany’s machine tool builders has recovered more briskly than was expected at the beginning of the year, Kallanish hears from their federation, VDW.

Orders received in the first half of 2021 reached €6.4 billion ($7.6 billion), up 57% on the first half of 2020. The degree of increase is attributable to the Covid-19-induced low base effect. Nevertheless, “the industry has turned itself around with considerably more dynamism than was originally assumed,” says VDW managing director Wilfried Schäfer.

“The picture would be even brighter without the bottlenecks and price increases in supplies of electronics, steel and sheet metal etc.,” says Schäfer. However, further increases in demand are expected – assuming that the global economy continues its recovery.

The main demand is still coming from Asia, and in particular from China, VDW details. The USA is showing increasing signs that order activity is about to pick up strongly. Europe has also revived noticeably, mainly through investment programmes, with Austria and Italy as prime examples. The German market is set to follow suit, albeit with a delay, VDW notes.

Oxford Economics, VDW’s forecasting partner, now puts production growth for full-year 2021 at 8% on-year, two percentage points higher than in the spring (see Kallanish passim). This would bring the volume for the current year to €13.2 billion, still a far stretch from the peak level achieved in 2019 of €17 billion.

Christian Koehl Germany