Exports of Italian machinery bounce back in 2015


At the annual Member Assembly of Assocomaplast (the Italian trade association belonging to CONFINDUSTRIA, which groups together over 160 makers of machinery, moulds and equipment for plastics and rubber), Assocomaplast President Alessandro Grassi provided an overview of trends in the sector. He once again stressed how 2015 was a good year for most companies: while production increased, exports witnessed further growth to over EUR2.9 billion, exceeding the record set in 2007 (pre-crisis) for sales abroad.

“I am firmly convinced,” stated Grassi, “of the great potentials in our sector, but above all of our companies. Throughout the years, first with the advent of the Euro and then with the economic recession, we have proven to be capable not only of holding our position but actually of improving it. I believe that through collaboration as an industry (and even – why not? – between competing companies) we can achieve even more than we have in these years.”


ISTAT data on foreign trade of machinery, equipment and moulds for plastics and rubber for the first quarter of 2016 show stable exports with respect to the same period in 2015, substantially balancing out the downturn last January and February, and a certain slowing in imports. While still enjoying growth of a full 10%, imports have not registered figures close to or greater than 20% over the previous 12 months.

The trend in exports is attributable essentially to positive performance in the types of machinery (as well as moulds) that historically have represented the lion’s share of the market: extruders, flexographic printers, and injection moulding machines, says the association.

As for a geographically, considering only those destinations where sales reached at least EUR20 million in January-March 2016, a positive trend is noted in the EU markets (among the principal: Spain +27%, Czech Republic +17%, United Kingdom +15%, France +14%), with the notable exception of Poland, where sales declined by 25% with respect to the first quarter of 2015. Supplies to Germany remained practically unchanged at just over EUR91 million, again the major export market for Italian companies in the sector. Outside of the European Union, exports remained stable with orders worth EUR11 million to Russia.

Meanwhile, sales decreased to the US and especially Mexico, respectively, by 6% and 56%. On the other hand, exports to Brazil tripled, approaching EUR20 million, while those to China remained stable at just under EUR30 million.


Marco Fortis, Vice-President of Fondazione Edison and economic advisor to Palazzo Chigi, presented an analysis of the Italian economic scenario with special regard to the plastics and rubber industry. In his speech, Fortis said GDP has grown for the fifth consecutive quarter to +1% in January-March 2016, with consumption by families on the rise, employment figures showing a positive trend, positive exports and balance of trade, and growth in investments in machinery, which is confirmed by a leap of nearly 32 percentage points in the orders of machine tools.

In this context, the plastics and rubber industry exported goods at a record value of EUR22.6 billion in 2015, and in 2014 Italy was world leader in balance of trade for 45 products from the plastics-rubber-machinery-moulds system.

Meanwhile, Corrado Peraboni, Managing Director of Fiera Milano, spoke about the integration of Plast 2018 with the tradeshows IPACK-IMA, Intralogistica Italia, Print4All and Meat-Tech.


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