Export business defies trade policy storms

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Mechanical engineering industry in Germany increases exports by 4.3 percent in the first half year - United States defend top position just ahead of China - Turkey crisis leaves its first traces

German mechanical engineering companies successfully defied the growing uncertainties in export business in the first half of 2018. In the first six months of this year, machine deliveries increased by a nominal 4.3 percent or 3.5 billion euros to 86.7 billion euros. In the same period of the previous year, exports had increased by 5.9 percent, for 2017 as a whole the increase had been just under 8 percent. "The threat and introduction of customs duties or extra-territorial sanctions naturally unsettle many investors. However, this will be reflected in mechanical engineering only with a certain delay, because many customer projects are planned long-term and orders already placed have a lead time of several months. Moreover, German mechanical engineering technology continues to be in great demand in many countries in order to drive forward modernization there," explains VDMA chief economist Dr. Ralph Wiechers.

"German mechanical engineering technology continues to be in great demand in many countries in order to drive forward modernization there".

In the first half of 2018, the US remained the most important export market for machinery deliveries from Germany - just ahead of China. Exports to the United States increased by 5.5 percent to 9.26 billion euros. Exports to China increased by 12 percent to 9.23 billion euros. This means that 10.7 percent of all machine deliveries from Germany went to the USA, with China's share increasing to 10.6 percent. France (plus 1.6 percent to 5.66 billion euros), Italy (plus 12.5 percent to 4.15 billion euros) and Great Britain (plus 0.7 percent to 3.74 billion euros) followed by some distance behind. Exports to all EU countries increased by 3.4 percent to 40.76 billion euros.

Exports to Turkey fell significantly in the first half of the year by 6.6 percent to 1.79 billion euros. "That's probably just a first taste of what's to come. The rapid decline of the Turkish lira is making the purchase of machines significantly more expensive for our Turkish customers," warns Wiechers. Turkey ranks 14th among the most important customer countries. Deliveries of machinery to Mexico also fell significantly by 8.7 percent to 1.42 billion euros. They had, on the other hand, risen particularly strong in 2017. Business with Russia (up 11.7 percent to 2.88 billion euros) and India (up 10.2 percent to 1.6 billion euros) developed well in the first six months.

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