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German machine tool sector expects decent 2014 growth

German engineers have said they're looking to the future with confidence as the domestic machine tool sector braces for more orders from home and farther afield. Thousands of additional jobs may be created.

Following a

disappointing 2013

marked by stagnation, Germany's machine tool sector was gaining momentum again, the engineering industry association VDMA said Tuesday.

VDMA President Reinhold Festge confirmed earlier forecasts, saying the sector would grow by 3 percent next year and reach a record output of 203 billion euros ($280 billion).

"The key to growth are developments on established markets, including Europe," Festge said in a statement, adding that traditional industrialized nations around the world would play an important role in the ongoing recovery of the global economy.

More orders, more jobs

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Small German companies with big machine tools for China

VDMA officials pointed to the eurozone nations that have finally overcome recession. They said

emerging economies

would also grow further, but warned that their current structural problems might have an impact on German exports of machinery.

The positive outlook for 2014 would also mean employment in the sector would improve again significantly, the association maintained, speaking of up to 5,000 possible new jobs in the offing.

"If things go extremely well, the German machine tool sector might for the first time employ more than one billion people," Festge said.

Small and medium-sized companies form the backbone of the domestic engineering industry, but there are also a couple of listed heavyweights in the sector, including ThyssenKrupp, Gildemeister and Gea.

hg/tj (dpa, Reuters)

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