China's plastics machinery sector might be seeing some players exit the field, and of those that are still hanging in there, one in five is losing money.
These are the latest numbers provided by Beijing-based China Plastics Machinery Industry Association (CPMIA) in a statement.
In the first three quarters of the year, the industry recorded a total of 386 “above-scale” companies (defined as having annual sales of no less than 20 million yuan or $3.1 million), 2.8 percent less than the same period last year.
Some 80 companies are losing money, according to CPMIA, a 5.3 percent increase from last year. Looking at the numbers another way, 20.7 percent of the total firms were in the red, which was one percentage point higher than last year.
Machinery sales dropped 3 percent in the first nine months of 2015, but the decline was particularly severe in the third quarter, with companies reporting double-digit decreases.
China's plastics machinery exports grew by 4 percent in the first three quarters to $1.39 billion, while imports sank 20 percent to $1.2 billion, mainly due to a drastic reduction in the average price per machine.
The picture looks a little different when measured by volume. Exports expanded by 75 percent, while imported machinery sales rose 1 percent.
During the 9-month time period, China imported 4,708 injection molding machines and 4,904 3-D printers. It also exported 16,828 injection molding presses and 58,962 3-D printers.
While the volume of imports continued to grow for most top trading partners, the dollar value of imports took a major hit for Germany (down 32.5 percent), Austria (down 48.3 percent), France (down 33.1 percent) and Italy (down 28.9 percent). The euro depreciation against the yuan may have played a role.
China saw particularly strong export growth to Vietnam (23.8 percent), Thailand (40 percent), South Korea (51.1 percent) and Mexico (38.5 percent), while Turkey (down 17.3 percent) and Iran (down 16.4 percent) showed substantial declines.
The United States, China's third-largest export destination, purchased 26,562 pieces of plastics machinery from China for a total of $74.2 million.
The U.S. is also the sixth largest plastics machinery exporter to China, with a total of 2,525 machines valued at $44.7 million.