Positive signs for the Italian plastics and rubber machinery industry

According to Assocomaplast (the Italian trade association, a Confindustria member, of 160 manufacturers of plastics and rubber machinery, equipment and moulds), ISTAT data related to the January-April 2010 period confirm the recovery of the sector, including import-export results, after the serious crisis that hit the industry throughout 2009 and well beyond.

As a matter of fact, though still reporting negative marks, the fall seems to have slackened: in comparison to the first four months of 2009, purchases from abroad decreased by 4%, whilst exports recorded a 1.7% reduction. In this latter case, the result is even more encouraging if compared to the data for all along 2009 that, month by month, with respect to 2008, showed drops not lower than 26%. Even during the first quarter of 2010 the recession was more remarkable: -6.4% in January, -9.6% in February and -7% in March.

This good trend of exports was sustained not only by the recovery of moulds (that represent one-third of the total and registered +1.3%) but also by an upturn in blow-moulding machines (7.1% of the total and +8.2%), flexographic printing machines (5.5% and +35.3%) and injection moulding machines (3.7%, +8.3%), rebounding after a long decline.

Besides ISTAT data, which provide a "delayed" picture of the situation – because they are released 3 months after the reference period and because at least 2-3 months pass between order and sales/exports, depending on the type of machine – the survey carried out in mid-July by Assocomaplast Secretariat among its members shows that for the second half of 2010, with respect to the first half, 45% of respondents expect a further turnover increase whilst 43% forecast stability. The order collection last June, with respect to May, increased for 34% of companies and remained steady for 45%. Compared to June 2009, this indicator improved for a larger share of Italian manu-facturers (60%).

The analysis by geographical area shows that the most dynamic destinations for Italian exports are, first of all, the domestic market (improving for 43% of the surveyed companies), followed by the European Union (42%) and South America (40%). As for single countries, Germany is still the n. 1 partner for Italian exporters of plastics and rubber machinery. To this end, Italian manufacturers are already preparing their participation at K (Düsseldorf, October 27-November 3, 2010), where they will be the most important group of foreign representation, with over 400 exhibitors occupying about one-fifth of the show area. Assocomaplast will be there with a stand (n. 16A56) distributing literature and information about the Italian plastics and rubber machinery industry and hosting a racing car produced by Dallara, Italian manufacturer whose chassis in composite material are assembled on cars that won several Formula Indy races, the American alternative to Formula 1.