Frankfurt am Main, Germany – In the second quarter of 2011, order bookings in the German machine tool industry rose by 83 percent, according to the office of Economics and Statistics in the VDW (German Machine Tool Builders' Association). Domestic order bookings increased by 72 percent, and export orders by 88 percent.
Overall, demand more than doubled during the first six months of 2011, 103 percent up on the preceding year's figure. Domestic customers ordered 96 percent more than in the previous year's equivalent period, and foreign customers 107 percent more. The order volume was even 8 percent above the figure in the reference period of the record year achieved in 2008.
The sustained boom in order bookings is also ensuring a high level of capacity utilization, which most recently in July of this year was at 94.7 percent in comparison to 76.3 percent a year ago. The order backlog, at 9.7 months, is at its highest for several years.
At some manufacturers of customized machinery, who are receiving massive orders from the very vigorously expanding automotive industry, it is even higher. On the other hand, companies have adopted a wait-and-see approach to payroll downsizing. In May of this year, there were 65,560 people working in the German machine tool industry. Since the beginning of this year, almost 3 percent additional personnel have been hired, corresponding to around 1,800 people.
For the year's second half, growth rates in order bookings will become significantly smaller, because an exceptionally high level of demand has already been reached. The 30 percent increase in sales anticipated for 2011 is assured, though. During the year's first half, sales rose by 50 percent.