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PlasticsEurope Deutschland sees a strong Industry in a Difficult Market Environment

Economic development of the plastics manufacturing industry

Europe is an important location for plastics manufacturing, accounting for 15 percent of the worldwide production. Major strengths of the European industry include its innovative and quality products, a high level of investment in research and development, the close cooperation within the value chain, and the proximity to its clients.

A quarter of the European plastics production comes from Germany. In 2021, more than 21 million tonnes of plastics have been produced in Germany, representing a growth by over 17 percent compared to the previous year. Thus, the plastics manufacturers earned around 31 billion Euros –
which catered for a good end-year closing for the German plastics manufacturing industry after the COVID-19 crisis in the year 2020. In Germany, the most important buyer of plastics is the packaging industry, accounting for more than one third of the industry’s sales, followed by the construction industry with 25 percent, the automotive sector with 10 percent, and the electrical/electronics industry with around six percent.

When it comes to trade in plastics, the member states of the European Union are of paramount importance. In 2021, approximately 70 percent of the exports went to the European Union, and more than 80 percent of the imports came from there. The most important market for plastics from Germany was Italy, followed by Poland, France, and the Netherlands. As for the imports, the Netherlands are number one, followed by Belgium, France, and Poland. Overall, the German
plastics manufacturers represent a strong export industry: in 2021, 13.8 million tonnes of plastics with a value exceeding 30 billion Euro were exported, which is a clear growth by 33 percent compared to the previous year. The imports amounted to almost ten million tonnes and a value of approximately 20 billion Euro. Hence, like the previous years, also the year 2021 saw a clear foreign trade surplus.

The positive development in the year 2021 will not continue in the same way in 2022. The war in Ukraine has further aggravated the material shortages, logistics problems, and high energy and raw material costs that existed already before. The plastics manufacturing industry in Germany has already been forced to reduce its production. Even the outlook for the future has been much more cautious recently, as a significant improvement of the situation is actually not expected.

Source: PlasticsEurope Deutschland