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Machine exports and industrial production 2008 - 2017

Are export shares of German machines synchronous to industrial production of export countries?

Industrial production is an important indicator for machines' use. So this report examines the development of industrial production in export countries that absorbed 75% of machine exports from Germany in 2017. These are the EU, the USA, China, Russia and Turkey. The industrial production of these export countries is compared with the development of machine exports from Germany. As a common starting point, we take 2008 as the pre-crisis year and set it to 100. This way industrial production and machine exports in the export country are visible at a glance for the nine years from 2008 to 2017.

June, 28th, 2018 - This report shows to which extent machine exports from Germany to an export country do correspond or do not correspond to the course of industrial production there.


At first it is obvious to assume that growing industrial production is linked to a growing demand for machines. However, this assumption is subject to at least three restrictions. High-performance machines enable a relatively higher output and thus reduce the need for more less powerful machines. The users of machines extend the new deployment of machines in favor of longer useful lives, possibly combined with partial modernizations. After all, exports of machines from Germany cannot keep pace with industrial production because competitors are preferred.


The report leaves all these influencing factors to investigations elsewhere specifying the question instead: Identifying synchronous and asynchronous developments between machine exports from Germany and the industrial production of the export countries.


The long-term time horizon of nine years from 2008 to 2017, the standardization of the pre-crisis year 2008 as a common starting line and finally the quantification of the growth rates of machine exports and industrial production makes synchronicity and asynchronicity visible at a glance.

Machine exports from Germany growing more strongly by a multiple than industrial production in the US

The USA is number one for machine exports from Germany outside the EU with an export share of 10.3% (2017). In the wake of the global economic crisis, the US lost this rank to China and has regained it since 2015.

Machine exports from Germany to the USA and the course of industrial production in the USA since 2008.

The strong growth of machine exports to the USA by 52% since 2008 contrasts with the low growth of industrial production in the USA by 3%. In an annual comparison of growth rates from 2008 to 2017, this means growing machine exports to the USA by 4.7% per year and growth in US industrial production by 0.3% per year.

Machine exports to the EU growing more strongyl by decuple than the related industrial production

The European Union accounts with 49% for almost half of all machine exports from Germany. Before the global economic crisis, this share stood at 52%, then fell to 44% by 2013, while rising to the developing BRIC and MIST countries.

Machine exports from Germany to the EU and the course of industrial production in the EU since 2008.

Exports of machines from Germany to the countries of the European Union in 2017 were by 7% above the pre-crisis level of 2008, which means growth of 0.7% per year. Nine years after the outbreak of the crisis, however, industrial production in the EU countries was 0.6% above the pre-crisis level, a growth rate of 0.06% p.a.

Germany’s machine exports lagging behind China’s growth potential

After the global economic crisis, China became the largest export market for machines from Germany outside the EU. In 2011, machine exports reached their  peak of 11.5% so far. Since then, the export share fell to 8.6% in 2016 and increased again to 9.7% in 2017.

Machine exports from Germany to China and the course of industrial production of China since 2008.

In the last nine years, China's industrial production grew by 130%, which is an average growth rate of 9.7% per year. Exports of machines from Germany to China also increased strongly by 68% in the same period, i.e. by yearly 5.9%.  However, the diagram highlights the loss of speed of the German machine exports since 2012.

Machine exports to Russia like a roller coaster ride

Exports of machines to Russia reached their highest level to date in 2012 at 5.1%. When sanctions against Russia were adopted in 2014, the export share dropped to 4.1% and reached its low of 2.8% in 2016 so far. In 2017 it rose again slightly to 3.1%.

Machine exports from Germany to Russia and the course of industrial production of Russia since 2008.

Russia's industrial production is 10% above its pre-crisis level, which means an annual growth rate of 1%. Machine exports from Germany, on the other hand, have been 30% lower since 2008. This sharp decline is obviously due to sanctions.


Have sanctions been imposed on the United States for its war against Iraq in violation of international law? Or because of their attack on Afghanistan? None of this is known. These sanctions are pure hypocrisy in their justification and serve to weaken Russia as a competitor for areas of global influence.

Turkey with dynamically growing industrial production and machine exports from Germany

The so-called MIST countries include Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey. Industrial production in Turkey and Indonesia is growing dynamically. In this group of countries, Turkey shows the highest export share of 2.3% (2017), the other countries are below two percent. Since 2014 the export quota of machines from Germany to Turkey has been stagnating.

Machine exports from Germany to Turkey and the course of industrial production of Turkey since 2008.

Industrial production in Turkey is 65% above its pre-crisis level, which corresponds to an annual growth of 5.7%. Exports of machines from Germany to Turkey also grew dynamically by 50% in the same period, i.e. by 4.6% per year.

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