Higher exports for Italian plastic and rubber machinery

Based on the ISTAT data regarding foreign trade in the first nine months of 2012, Assocomaplast, an Italian association comprising 165 manufacturers of plastics and rubber processing machinery and moulds, has forecast an outcome close to the results of 2007, the best year ever, with EUR4.2 billion exports.

The Assocomaplast analysis points to substantial stability in sales abroad, which have strengthened. Imports recorded a modest increase of +2%, which is nevertheless impressive, given the prolonged crisis in the domestic market.

Exports show an increase of 9%, which, while less than the results of the previous quarters, is an encouraging sign for companies in the sector. However, other segments of the Italian machine tools industry bear negative results.

The latest Assocomaplast survey shows an increase in investment in exports for over a third of the member companies from the first to the second half of 2012. The same number of respondents expects revenues to increase in this second half of the year.

On the basis of the 2012-2011 variations, the balance of trade for the sector exceeded EUR 1.41 billion, representing an increase of 11% with respect to the previous one.

An analysis of the export destinations for the sector puts Europe in the lead, with some 60% of the total and 11% above January-September 2011 levels. This increase is supported mainly by extra-EU markets, Russia in particular, which recorded +26% to bring it close to EUR 100 million. Given the scenario, Assocomaplast and Italian manufacturers have been focusing their attention on Russia in this period, in view of the upcoming edition of the Interplastica Fair to be held in Moscow on 29 January to 1 February, 2013. The show will be participated by over 50 Italian exhibitors in a collective exhibition space of approximately 1,100 sq m.

North America pits in the second with a share of 18% and an increase of 14% with respect to one year ago. A strong upsurge in orders from the US and Mexico played a major role in this performance.

South America has noted a drop-off of 12% in supplies to Brazilian converters, a downturn that the association deems inevitable given the sustained levels maintained in recent years.

Weaker signs are arriving from the other side of the globe: sales to the Far East rose by an average of 3%, but with large divergence of trend from one country to another, at least in the most important markets. China, which absorbs half of Italian machines, gained an extra 4% in value, while sales to India dropped. Supplies have also increased to Thailand and Indonesia.

The Middle East, on the other hand, has shown a decrease of 18 percentage points, imputable first of all to supplies to Iran falling by half, clearly affected by the restrictive measures, which became still more stringent during this year. Sales to Turkey were positive.

In Northern Africa, sales of Italian machines to Morocco and Egypt are declining, while Tunisia shows the opposite trend. The rest of the African continent shows decidedly more modest values, with the exception of South Africa, which acquired machines for a value of over EUR 18 million (a third more than January-September 2011).


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