ASSAGO, ITALY (Sept. 22, 1:30 p.m. ET) — Italian plastics and rubber machinery makers experienced a 22 percent increase in exports in the first half of 2011, according to figures released by the country's machinery association Assocomaplast.
Exports reached an estimated value of 1.1 billion euros, according to the Assago-based trade body.
President Giorgio Colombo attributes the rise in export to the organization's work in promoting Italian machinery abroad. In the past year, Assocomoplast has set up liaison offices in Beijing and Moscow, and an information platform in India.
Italian companies have also redoubled their efforts to enter growing markets, he said.
Looking at the type of machinery exported, extruders accounted for a large chunk of the total (11 percent). Flexographic printers achieved strong growth during the first six months of the year, with sales rising 20 percent.
Exports to European markets rose 30 percent, while sales to China rose 24 percent.
However, sales to the near and Middle East showed a decline of 5 percent compared to the first six months of 2010, attributed by Assocomoplast to the socio-political instability in the area. There was also a decline in exports to Africa and Australasia.
For 2011, Assocomoplast predicts that export sales will total 2.3 billion euros by the end of the year. Production is expected to rise 11.1 percent, while the domestic market will grow 6.7 percent.