Imports of plastics processing machinery by companies in Mexico in the first half of 2009 fell 15 percent compared with the same period in 2008, according to the country's plastics industries association.
Those imports totaled $338.1 million, down from $398 million in the first six months of last year, Guillermo Salas, president of Anipac (Asociacón Nacional de Industrias del Plastico AC), said in an Oct. 1 speech in Mexico City.
Salas said the downturn is temporary and the situation will improve because the Mexican economy, which he said is closely tied to that of the U.S., is showing signs of recovery.
There are fewer and fewer cases of machinery standing idle, he said. Technological innovation is generally based on design and for this reason the sale of the latest technology in molds and machinery will continue to be required.
Imports of injection presses in the first six months totaled $125.4 million, down 11.9 percent from the same period in 2008, Salas said.
Imports of machinery for other processes were as follows: extrusion, $32.4 million (down 20.8 percent); blow molding, $26 million (down 29.1 percent); thermoforming, $11.3 million (down 13.9 percent); and others, $143 million (down 13.5 percent).
Salas said China, which failed to make the list of the top 11 exporters of plastics processing machinery to Mexico until 2006, occupied eighth place in 2008, with sales of $37.9 million. China leapfrogged such rivals as South Korea ($35 million), Austria ($32.1 million) and Taiwan ($20.8 million).
His own company, Industrias Plasticas Maximo SA de CV, is a major importer of Chinese injection molding machinery.
Continuing to lead in exports of such machinery to Mexico are the U.S. ($211.8 million in 2008), Germany ($147.4 million), Japan ($113.5 million) and Italy ($80.8 million).
According to Salas, imports of molds in the first six months of 2009 totaled $404.6 million, up 2.7 percent from the January-June period of 2008, when they totaled $394 million.
But he said consumption of raw materials by Mexico's processors will drop an estimated 2 percent this year, down from slightly more than 8.82 billion pounds in 2008 and a similar level in 2007.
Extrusion activities account for 4.2 billion pounds of the raw materials consumed in the country, followed by injection (2.65 billion pounds), blow molding (2.4 billion pounds), thermoforming (661 billion pounds) and rotational molding (145.5 million pounds), Salas said.
Food and drink packaging accounts for 49 percent of all the plastic processed in Mexico, he said, followed by consumer goods (22 percent), the construction industry (11 percent), electrical/electronics (6 percent), the furniture and automotive industries (4 percent each), industrial (2 percent), and the agricultural and pharmaceutical industries (1 percent each).
Salas, who emphasized that rotomolding and plastics recycling offer some of the biggest opportunities for growth in Mexico, was speaking at an event to present details of the 2010 edition of the Plastimagen exhibition, which Mexico City-based Anipac organizes every two years in conjunction with E.J. Krause de México. Next year's show will be held March 23-26 in Mexico City.
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