Italian Plastic Machinery State of the Industry Report 2015: Sprinting Forwards for the First SIx Months

The statistical analysis performed by Assocomaplast (Italian trade association, part of CONFINDUSTRIA, representing over 160 companies) on foreign trade data provided by ISTAT regarding the first six months of this year, reveals in comparison to January-June 2014 a markedly positive performance for Italy's exports and imports of plastics and rubber machinery, equipment and moulds.

The growth recorded since the first months of 2014 has continued this year and actually has increased: by the end of June 2015, the rise in purchases from abroad approached 17%. This provides further reassurance of economic recovery for the domestic market, though it cannot yet be described as a glittering performance. Sales outside Italy increased by 7.5%. The trade balance also improved.

“Such trend” remarked Alessandro Grassi, President of Assocomaplast, "is in fact in line with the results revealed by our latest sentiment survey throughout our membership of the current status of business.” The survey revealed a climate of moderate optimism, both as regards recent results in July, 50% of the interviewees indicated an increase in orders with respect to a year ago and as regards outlook, with 44% of interviewees expecting further expansion, and 45% expecting a consolidation of its turnover over the current six-month period.

“These indicators also show an improvement with respect to earlier surveys," said Grassi. From the point of view of equipment types, the largest volumes of imported injection moulding machines, flexographic printing machines and moulds to mention those making up the largest proportion of the total, though the same applies to other types of equipment were recorded for Germany, the country that confirms its role as principal supplier of technology for Italy.

Germany, historically also the most important destination market for Italian exports in this sector, confirms its position from this point of view as well. German processors purchased Made in Italy plant for a value of almost 200 million euro (+19% with respect to the first six months of 2014).

In terms of geographical macro-areas for sales overall, there was a notable increase in business from EU countries and the NAFTA group. Amongst the UE countries there was an increase of sales in Germany, as mentioned previously, but also in Spain and the Czech Republic. As regards North America, the most significant result was the 36% increase in exports to the United States, along with the by no means negligible figure of +15% in Mexico. Encouraging results also arrived from Brazil, with a 17% improvement that induces hope at least for stabilization, in contrast to the reductions seen over the last four years.

The further decline in exports to Russia (-39%), still negatively affected by the problems caused by the Ukraine crisis, comes as no surprise. Negative values were also seen for India (- 24%), where Italian suppliers are finding it difficult to make headway notwithstanding the market's potential, and China, where there are marked swings in performance from year to year.