US plastics machinery shipments up 15% in first half of 2018

US plastics machinery shipments

Plastics machinery shipments in North America rose in the first quarter of 2018 on a year-over-year basis, according to the statistics compiled and reported by the Plastics Industry Association’s (PLASTICS) Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES). This is the fourth consecutive quarterly year-over-year increase in plastics machinery shipments

The preliminary estimate of shipments of primary plastics equipment (injection moulding and extrusion) for reporting companies totalled US$333.7 million in the first quarter. This was 15.1% higher than the total US$290 million in Q1 of 2017, but 11.7% lower than the $378 million from Q4 of 2017.

“Shipments of plastics machinery tend to be lower in the first quarter relative to other quarters due to seasonality,” said PLASTICS Chief Economist Perc Pineda. “Still, the US economy was off to a good start in the first quarter. Business confidence remains high, helped by corporate tax reform enacted last year. Plastics equipment shipments data are in sync with healthy corporate profits in the manufacturing sector, including the plastics industry.”

According to PLASTICS, 984 injection moulding machines and 42 twin-screw extrusion machines were shipped in the period reported.

The shipments value of injection moulding machinery increased 22.9% in Q1 compared to the fourth quarter of last year, while the shipments value of single-screw extruders declined 14.6% during the same period. The shipments value of twin-screw extruders, which includes both co-rotating and counter-rotating machines, decreased 27.1%.

The US total export value for plastics machinery in the first quarter was US$404 million, a 7.7% decrease from the previous quarter (US$437.9 million), but a 6.9% increase from a year ago.

Plastics machinery imports decreased 12.8% in the first quarter (US$829.7 million). From the first quarter of last year, machinery imports rose 5.7% ($784.6 million). The US continues to have a trade deficit in plastics machinery, which was US$425.7 million in the first quarter, a 17% decrease from the fourth quarter last year, but 4.6% higher than a year ago.

The respondents to the Q1 survey expect that construction, appliances and packaging will be strong end-markets in the next 12 months. Their market outlook remains stable, as more respondents noted that they expected market conditions to be unchanged for the year due to the fact that the US economy is at full employment capacity.


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