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Crisis in German plastics processing

Sales by Germany's roughly 3,000 plastics processors fell by 4.6 per cent year-on-year from January to June 2023 to around 38 billion euros.


This is reported by TecPart Verband Technische Kunststoff-Produkte in its half-yearly balance sheet, citing figures from the Federal Statistical Office. Only the manufacturers of technical parts were able to increase their turnover by 3 per cent to 10.7 billion euros in the first half of 2023, according to the data. The construction sector, the strongest in terms of turnover, lost the most, with a drop of almost 11 per cent and now a turnover of 10.7 billion euros, followed by the packaging sector with a drop of 5.9 per cent and consumer goods, where turnover fell by 1.7 per cent, according to the report. Nevertheless, according to TecPart managing director Michael Weigelt, employment was still largely stable at around 323,000. The association does not see any improvement in the situation for the second half of the year either. An oversupply of produced plastics meets weak demand. This was depressing both polymer quotations and the price of the products made from them. The plastics recyclers are in a particular predicament, says Weigelt: They are challenged to compete with high electricity costs, weaker input streams and ruinous primary commodity prices. "The frustration is high," says Weigelt, describing the mood throughout the industry: "The impression is that there is a lot of talk in Berlin, but no action." In terms of the overall economy, the association warns, a recession is not unlikely. The country had to be made competitive again. There were plenty of fields of action such as the immediate introduction of an industrial or bridge electricity price for export-oriented industry, the harmonisation of levies and taxes in Europe or a reduction for Germany. As further fields of action, the association names, for example, the support of qualified immigration and simplification of the admission of working migrants already in the country with uncertain residence status, the acceleration of infrastructure renovation and digitalisation or the reduction of bureaucracy. Weigelt warns: "If the economic framework conditions are not also quickly and significantly improved for the already installed industry, we will have too few companies to accompany and ultimately finance the transformation wanted by the government." Without Germany's economic driving force, Europe is also in danger of failing, says Weigelt.


  • (August 16, 2023)
  • Kunststoff Information (August 17, 2023)
  • Photo: © TecPart

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