Trade group Assocomaplast says Italian imports and exports of plastics and rubber machinery fell in the first half of the year.
Imports dropped 6.2 percent to 279.7 million euros, as the domestic market still struggles to recover, according to the group. The biggest drop in imports was in thermoforming machines (down 61 percent), extruders and extrusion lines (down 44.1 percent) and blow molding machines (down 38.5 percent).
Imports of flexographic printers, however, increased 51.7 percent.
In terms of exports, overall sales were down 1.7 percent to 1.2 billion euros, but Assocomaplast says this indicates that the market held "relatively firm."
"The drop in exports… can be considered minor, especially given their overall ups and downs," said the group. "Foreign sales in fact followed an intermittent trend over the first six months of 2013: after a decidedly strong start to the year — entrained by the positive close to 2012 — export flows lost some momentum, though without any of the steep declines suffered by other Italian mechanical engineering sectors."
Thermoforming machines again suffered here; exports were down 15.8 percent. Sales of extruders, blow molding machines, molds and parts and components all fell slightly but exports of injection molding machines increased 23.8 percent.
As in 2012, Germany is still the top destination for exports, accounting for 14.9 percent of the total. The United States and France both account for 6 percent of exports, followed by Russia, Poland, China, Spain, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Turkey.