US plastics machinery shipments slowed in 2nd quarter

US-based Plastics Industry Association says that shipments of primary plastics machinery (injection moulding and extrusion) in North America decreased for the second consecutive quarter according to the statistics compiled and reported by its Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES).

The preliminary estimate of shipment value from reporting companies totalled US$320.9 million in second quarter 2021. It decreased by 4.2% following the 11.1% decrease in first quarter 2021. Compared to second quarter 2020, however, plastics machinery shipments rose by 21.2%.

The value of shipments of single-screw extruders increased significantly by 33.1% from the first quarter 2021, but twin-screw extruders and injection moulding shipments fell by 24.9% and 4.9%, respectively. Compared to second quarter 2020, shipments of injection moulding, single and twin-screw extruders were 19.5%, 37.8%. and 32.3% higher, respectively.

US plastics machinery shipments slowed in 2nd quarter

“While new orders of plastics equipment have been increasing, ongoing supply chain issues–-shortage of parts and components--–are causing longer order-to-delivery timelines. This explains the decrease in shipments in the second quarter. For the third consecutive quarter, plastics equipment shipments were higher from a year earlier. This means that the underlying trend in plastics equipment demand remains upward sloping – still in sync with the robust economic recovery,” said Perc Pineda, Chief Economist of PLASTICS.

PLASTIC’s CES also conducts a quarterly survey of plastics machinery suppliers that asks about present market conditions and expectations for the future.

In the second quarter 2021 survey, 92.7% of respondents expect market conditions to either improve or hold steady in the coming quarter – marginally lower than the 93.5% of respondents who expressed the same view in first quarter 2021’s survey. As for the next 12 months, 78.7% expect market conditions to be steady-to-better. This is lower than the 93% of respondents in the previous quarter’s survey who were expecting growth in the next 12 months.

Second quarter 2021 plastics machinery total exports decreased by 6.9% to US$367.6 million from first quarter 2021.

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Mexico and Canada remained the top export markets of plastics machinery from the US. The combined exports to USMCA partners in second quarter 2021 totalled US$177.2 million, which was 48.2% of total exports of plastics machinery.

Imports rose by 3.5% to US$874 million resulting in a US$506.8 million trade deficit. The US plastics machinery trade deficit increased by 12.6% in second quarter 2021.

The volume of merchandise trade is expected to increase this year as global economic conditions improve. The World Trade Organisation expects to see an 8.4% increase in global merchandise trade this year.

“Until the supply chain issues are resolved, and production lead times return to normal, expect to see fluctuations in quarterly shipments of plastics machinery. Nevertheless, the outlook for plastics machinery in the second half of the year is positive,” said Pineda.


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