Published On: Wed, Dec 19th, 2012

EXPORTS STILL HOLDING for the Italian plastic and rubber processing machine industry

EXPORTS STILL HOLDING for the Italian plastic and rubber processing machine industry

EXPORTS STILL HOLDING for the Italian plastic and rubber processing machine industry

On the basis of ISTAT data regarding foreign trade in the first nine months of 2012, Assoco-maplast (Italian association in CONFINDUSTRIA including 165 manufacturers of Plastics and Rubber Processing Machinery and Moulds) forecasts for the entire year 2012 an outcome close the results for 2007 – the best year ever – with production on the order of 4.2 billion euros and exports worth more than 2.6 billion.

The Assocomaplast analysis points to substantial stability in sales abroad, which have strengthened their role as the mainstay of this industrial sector. Imports have recorded a modest increase of +2%, which is nevertheless impressive, given the prolonged crisis in the domestic market. Exports evidence an increase of roughly 9 percentage points which, while somewhat less bril-liant than the results of the previous quarters, is an encouraging sign for companies in the sector.

The same cannot be said for the much more negative results recorded in other seg-ments of the Italian machine tools industry. The results of the latest Assocomaplast survey show an increase in investment in exports for over a third of the member companies from the first to the second half of 2012. And a similar share of respondents expect revenues to in-crease in this second half of the year.
On the basis of the 2012-2011 variations, the balance of trade for the sector exceeded 1.41 billion euros, representing an increase of 11% with respect to the previous one.

An analysis of the export destinations for the sector reconfirms Europe in first place, with some 60% of the total and 11% above January-September 2011 levels. In detail, this increase is supported mainly by extra-EU markets, Russia in particular, which recorded +26% to bring it close to 100 million euros. And indeed, Assocomaplast and Italian manufacturers have been focussing their attention on Russia in this period, in view of the upcoming edition of the Interplastica fair (Moscow, 29 January–1 February 2013), which will witness the participation of over 50 Italian exhibitors in a collective exhibition space of approximately 1,100 sqm.

North America is next in rank, with a share of 18% and an increase of 14% with respect to one year ago. A strong upsurge in orders from the United States and Mexico played a major role in this performance. On the contrary, if we extend our gaze to South America, we note a drop-off of 12% in sup-plies to Brazilian converters, a downturn that was virtually 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 addressed to that geographical area, gained an extra 4% in value while India fell back. Supplies have also in-creased 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 are good.

Regarding 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 18 million euros (a third more than January-September 2011).

Details of foreign trade in the sector by type of machine are provided in the following table.

Italian imports-exports of machinery, equipment and moulds for plastics and rubber
(January-September – 000 euros)



2011 2012 2011 2012
flexographic printing machines 11.844 11.342 81.503 88.909
plants for mono and multifilaments 1.641 1.214 29.935 31.830
injection moulding machines 56.207 52.053 87.178 67.740
extruders 18.036 27.598 198.884 233.050
blow moulding machines 14.144 5.442 86.624 102.088
thermoforming machines 2.817 6.207 43.317 36.686
presses for tyres and inner tubes 1.291 880 23.981 20.325
presses 14.014 5.851 52.102 58.111
machinery for moulding or forming 8.308 10.413 105.084 114.415
machines for reactive resins 962 1.104 20.900 25.734
machines for foamed products 3.386 2.232 20.228 24.323
equipment for size reduction 2.571 2.050 14.307 14.886
mixers 5.749 2.106 17.781 21.579
cutting, splitting and peeling machines 2.546 3.999 7.541 11.960
other machines 17.930 26.417 233.755 254.434
parts and components 100.096 97.987 255.957 249.633
moulds 173.536 187.965 428.767 501.456
total 435.079 444.859 1.707.844 1.857.158