Assocomaplast, the Italian trade association for plastic and rubber processing equipment makers, says its member companies may be on their way to a record export sales year once all of the numbers are in for 2015.
Assocomaplast's research office, analyzing foreign trade data, said in a Dec. 23 news release that export sales for the first nine months of 2015 were nearly equal to those from all of 2014, and 2015 may even break the 2007 export record of 2.8 billion euros ($3 billion). That trend possibly could push overall Italian production beyond the threshold of 4.1 billion euros ($4.4 billion).
Alessandro Grassi, President of Assocomaplast said: "The factor bringing most satisfaction to Italian businesses in this sector is the consolidation in exports: In the first nine months of this year they have nearly reached the same level as the full year 2014."
Sales into North America led the way, up by 30 percentage points, thanks mainly to increase demand from U.S. converters. Sales to Central and South America dropped, however.
Exports throughout the European Union also have been positive. The EU remains Italian machinery makers' primary market,where sales climbed 13 percent. However, sales in non-EU members dropped by 4 percent.
Exports to Germany have recovered compared to previous quarters, states the association, and is the largest destination market for Italian exports in the sector.
A drop in sales to Russia has had the most impact on export figures to non-EU countries from Italy, says Assocomaplast. “This is an important market, to which Italian manufacturers continue to look with great interest and the hope that the values witnessed prior to the imposition of sanctions and the collapse of the ruble will soon be back on the books," said Grassi.
Sales to Asia dropped slightly although the Far East fared best during the first nine months of 2015, the group reported. Sales to Indonesia and Thailand were up while China held steady, although sales to the Middle East dropped 16 percent, which Assocomaplast linked to a slowdown in Saudi Arabia combined with the continuing standstill in Iran. But with the lifting of sanctions, the group noted conditions for business in Iran should improve.