The Italian plastics and rubber processing machinery industry is experiencing continued demand from overseas markets.

The latest ISTAT figures reported by the Amaplast Statistical Studies Centre revealed that Italian manufacturers of plastics and rubber processing machinery, equipment and moulds experienced an increase in imports of 9.1 per cent year-on-year, and 14.6 per cent for exports year-on-year.

These upward trends indicate further stabilization of trade for the sector. While imports have been slightly slower with respect to year-end 2016 and the first quarter of 2017, sales overseas confirm robust double-digit growth that has been the overarching trend for the first half of 2017.

Nearly all machine types have recorded an improvement in foreign demand, especially extrusion lines which experienced a 17 per cent year-on-year uptick.

Flexographic printers were up on the previous year by 23 per cent, thermoforming machines experienced a 37 per cent jump and moulds were in 18 per cent greater demand from overseas markets.

Europe remains the principal destination for Italian machinery, with EU sales rising by over 20 percentage points in the first six months of 2016, while there was a similar upsurge across the rest of Europe.

Meanwhile in Russia, the value of sales more than doubled from €21 million (£18.5 million) to nearly €50 milliom.

The Americas absorbed a fifth of Italian exports in the sector, with an increase on the order of 10 percentage points, imputable mainly to growth in Latin American markets, with Brazil in the lead(up 73 per cent). The NAFTA countries, on the other hand, recorded more modest growth, due to a slowdown in sales to Mexico.

Sales to Asian countries remained stagnant, conditioned by a drop in exports to the Middle East in general, and specifically to Saudi Arabia and Iran. Sales to the Far East did not fare much better, dragged down by the -12 per cent recorded for China, which was certainly not offset by the one per cent increase to India.

While the aggregate sales to Africa are modest in value, Mediterranean countries and Sub-Saharan countries both recorded an increase approaching 20 percentage points.

"It should be noted that the recovery in supplies to important historical markets such as Russian and Brazil, which were sputtering in the recent past due to their respective, well publicised economic and political problems, gives a quite significant boost in confidence for companies in our sector," said President of Amaplast Alessandro Grassi.

"The end-of-June statistics highlighting continuing growth in exports for the sector are an important signal for Italian manufacturers of plastics and rubber processing machinery, equipment, and moulds, who thus have a more tangible perception of recovery in their market and can look forward to a new record in production and exports at year end. Companies also note a parallel recovery in the domestic market, sustained in part by the stimulus measures implemented by the Italian government to support investment by manufacturers within an “Industry 4.0” approach. Italian manufacturers of plastics and rubber processing machinery are ready to contribute to the process by providing cutting-edge, competitive systems."

The mid-year survey conducted at the end of July among Amaplast member companies, comparing the first half of 2017 with the same period in 2016, revealed a positive trend both in turnover (rising for 45 per cent of the interviewees and stable for 51 per cent) and current orders (improving for 51 per cent of those surveyed and stable for 35 per cent).

The upcoming months bring an intense calendar of major specialized trade fairs around the world, where Amaplast will play an active role in promoting the Made-in-Italy ahead of PLAST 2018 (May 29th-June 1st 2018).

Source: eppm

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