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Composites sector in Germany badly impacted: report

Sep '20
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
Composites sector in Germany has been greatly impacted by coronavirus pandemic, according to the 15th Composites Market Survey carried out by Composites Germany. Companies have given unfavourable assessments of the general business situation, and are pessimistic about their own situations. Ratings were lowest since the surveys were started in 2013.

The survey covered all the member companies of the three major umbrella organisations of Composites Germany - AVK, Leichtbau Baden-Württemberg and the VDMA Working Group on Hybrid Lightweight Construction Technologies. As before, to ensure a smooth comparison with the previous surveys, the questions in this half-yearly survey were left unchanged. Once again, the data obtained in the survey was largely qualitative and related to current and future market developments.

Partly due to the current impact of the coronavirus pandemic on numerous business segments and areas of application, many companies are facing negative circumstances. The general economic situation has been deteriorating further in recent weeks and months, and this is reflected in the negative ratings given by respondents. Ratings have reached the lowest figures since the surveys were started in January 2013.

Not only did companies give rather unfavourable assessments of the general business situation; they also continued to be pessimistic about their own situations.

Although the tense situation is beginning to relax, eg in the automotive industry, and although the crisis has not yet taken full effect in other sectors, eg construction, many companies are nevertheless full of uncertainty. There has been a variety of opportunities and measures to stimulate industry and the economy in general, but it seems that they have not yet had the desired positive economic impact.

When asked about their expectations for future business developments, respondents gave contrasting answers. While they expected to see an improvement in the general economic situation, both in Europe and worldwide, they were still pessimistic about the outlook for Germany, and also with regard to their own business situation in the future.

Like expectations for the development of the business situation, expectations for selected areas of application also turned out to be extremely diverse. The automotive and aviation industries are the main areas where respondents expected to see a deterioration in the market environment. However, other sectors, such as sports and leisure and infrastructure/construction, are expected to develop far more positively

While, as in the last surveys, growth stimuli for the composites segment is mainly expected to come from Germany, Europe and Asia as global regions, there can be a paradigmatic shift with regard to materials. Whereas, in the first 13 surveys, respondents always believed that the composites segment would receive its prevailing growth stimuli from CRP as a material, the current survey is now the second one where respondents have mentioned GRP as the most important material.

The current situation has created major uncertainty. The mood in companies continues to be negative. This is partly due to production losses and a sharp decline in both investment and consumer confidence caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and also due to political uncertainties and squabbles about economic policies. Many of the measures that have been taken still seem to be insufficient to create a positive environment. Although expectations of the future business situation are generally becoming more positive, this is not yet leading to a more positive assessment of the companies’ own positions in the market. Following these assessments, the Composites Development Index continues to fall.

It remains to be seen how the economy will develop in the rest of the year, especially in the autumn. Over the last few years there has been success in establishing composites in many new areas of application, thus achieving an almost consistently positive development. Composites therefore remain important materials for the future and will continue to find their way into industry, despite the current crisis.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (SV)

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