FRANKFURT, Germany—The German rubber sector is coming under immense pressure with orders "dwindling" since the middle of 2023, industry association WDK has reported Sept. 20.
This is despite an apparently strong first half. Industry sales grew 13.2 percent year-on-year to $6.2 billion, with a nearly 10-percent increase in sales of tires and 15-percent rise in general rubber goods (GRG).
Breaking down the GRG revenues, sales to the automotive industry grew 32 percent to €1.9 billion, while other segments saw a moderate 2.8-percent increase to $2.1 billion during the first six months of the year.
WDK indicated, however, that this growth was from weak prior-year levels, with the current situation more clearly reflected by declining production, capacity utilization and employment in the industry.
Indeed, first-half production fell 4.5 percent year-on-year to 640,000 metric tons, driven by a 7.4-percent decline in tire output to 250,000 tons and 2.5-percent decrease in technical elastomer products to 390,000 tons.
Industry utilization rates dipped to 79.2 percent, as technical rubber manufacturers reported a 0.9-percent drop to 85.9 percent and tire makers a 10.4-percent decline in capacity-utilization to 73.0 percent.
Overall, the number of employees within the German rubber industry shrank 1.4 percent year-on-year to just under 66,000 people.
Demand has fallen in "many important business segments of the German rubber industry," WDK Chief Economist Michael Berthel said. "This applies to the construction sector, manufacturing industry and especially to mechanical engineering and consumer products."