There was an uncertain start to the year for Italian exporters of plastics and rubber processing machinery, according to official figures that have been reviewed by Assocomaplast, the Italian trade organization.
Machinery exports in January-March this year fell 4 percent compared to the same period in 2012. This reversed a positive trend for Italian exports at the end of 2012, which continued into the earliest part of 2013.
A downward trend had been predicted in a business climate survey conducted at the start of 2013 by Assocomaplast. "That said, the same survey repeated in April-May of this year recorded a modest upturn in order portfolios, so it will be interesting to see to what extent this translates into a recovery for exports," the trade body said in a statement.
The export market had previously provided relief to Italian plastics and rubber machinery companies, which have faced a shrinking domestic market due to Italy's economic downturn.
In the statement, Assocomaplast said: "On the domestic front there are no signs in the near future of any increase in production output that would renew processors' propensity to invest in equipment."
The group said it hopes new government initiatives, which include measures to encourage machinery investments, will give Italian processors an incentive to renew their equipment.
Assago, Italy-based Assocomaplast is calling for further government incentives that build on the so-called "Sabatini law," which provides support to small- and medium-sized enterprises for funding machinery purchases.