In the second quarter of 2011, statistics compiled by the industry association VDW show, German machine tool order bookings rose by 83%. Domestic order bookings increased 72% and export orders by 88%. Overall, demand over the first six months of 2011 more than doubled from last year, being up 103% over January–June 2011.
German customers ordered 96% more in the first six months of 2011 than they did in the first half of 2010, and foreign customers ordered 107% more than during last year’s equivalent period. The order volume for the first two quarters of 2011 even exceeded by 8% that of the record year 2008.
“The continuing buoyant level of demand has ensured a magnificent midyear result,” remarks Gerhard Hein, head of economics and statistics at the VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association).
The sustained boom in order bookings is ensuring a high level of capacity utilization, which in July 2011 was at 94.7% (versus 76.3% a year ago). The order backlog, at 9.7 months, is at its highest level in several years. However, explains Hein, the ability of many producers to make fast deliveries is being hampered by restricted component procurement options. Also, the German machine tool industry is cautious about capacity upsizing, partly because of the uncertainty generated by current financing problems in Europe and the USA. “The shock from 2008-2009 is still deeply ingrained,” explains Hein.
On the other hand, Hein says, companies also adopted a wait-and-see approach to payroll downsizing during the crisis, but the 65,560 people working in the German machine tool industry in May 2011 were almost 3% (1,800 people) more than at the beginning of the year.
Hein expects demand in the second half of 2011 to be boosted further by EMO Hannover 2011, the premier trade fair for metalworking being held September 19–24. But the growth rates in order bookings will become much smaller at the same time, he says, because an exceptionally high level of demand has already been attained. The increase in sales of 30% that is anticipated for this year is a certainty, though, Hein concludes. During the first half of 2011, sales rose by 50%.
Sourced from tool-moldmaking.com