Italian machinery exports to European Union countries and North America grew in 2014 — with the United States passing France to become the second-largest export market, behind Germany.
Assocomaplast, the Italian machinery trade organization for plastics and rubber machinery and molds, reported its year-end statistics March 20. During NPE 2015, the industry group is exhibiting at Booth W483.
The Italian machinery and molds industry reported an estimated value of production at 4 billion euros ($4.33 billion), 2.6 percent more than 3.9 billion euros ($4.2 billion) in 2013. Exports account for more than half of the total.
The strongest machinery segments were blow molding machinery and flexographic printing equipment, as both areas grew more than 11 percent in 2014, vs. 2013 levels. The export value of extruders remained flat. Injection molding machines declined by 16 percent.
Exports grew about 5 percent, to make up for a weak Italian domestic market, Assocomaplast said: “Progress in exports maintained a constant pace to the end of the year, sustaining Italian machinery manufacturers in a period where the domestic market showed only timid signs of recovery in the very months.”
Exports increased for European countries and the United States. Russia fell 11.9 percent as an export market, as the country was hit by economic sanctions in response to the crisis in Ukraine and the collapse of the ruble.
Exports declined to Central and South America, hit by an 11-percent drop in Brazil. Asia was flat, as an upswing in sales to China, Vietnam, Indonesia and India compensated for a slowdown in South Korea, Japan and Thailand, according to Assocomaplast.
But Assocomaplast reports that Italian machinery makers are generally optimistic about 2015. About one-third of those surveyed expect increases in orders and sales in the first half of this year. A similar percent expects Italy's share of exports to increase.
Attendance looks strong for the Plast 2015 trade show, May 5-9 in Milan. So far, advance visitor registration is more than double the level of the same period for the last Plast show, the trade group said.