The Italian plastics & rubber processing machinery industry expects to finish 2022 with a "substantially positive balance," building on double-digit growth achieved the year before.
Overall production for 2022 is expected to reach a threshold of 4.5 billion euros, with growth of 1 percentage point over 2021, trade group Amaplast said in a Dec. 14 news release.
While marginal, the growth consolidates the recovery achieved during the previous year, and exceeds the pre-pandemic levels of 2019 by two percentage points, according to the association.
Exports, which represent roughly 70 percent of production, recorded growth of 2 percent, exceeding 3 billion euros, while the domestic market registered a 1 percent year-on-year increase, partly influenced by a 5 percent increase in imports.
In terms of regions, the first nine months of the year saw an intensified flow to Asian markets, led by India.
In the Americas, demand was led by South America in particular, with Colombia registering the highest growth.
In Europe, demand was particularly driven by extra-EU states, excluding the CIS.
Sales to Africa, on the other hand, slowed particularly to Mediterranean and Sub-Saharan markets.
Citing its latest member survey, Amaplast said there had been "a progressive slowdown" in demand over the course of the current year.
The decline was most prominent for machinery, both in the domestic and export markets, while component sales maintained growth.
Amaplast remained optimistic about the immediate outlook, saying manufacturers expect orders to increase, due in part to the "K effect," following the Düsseldorf, Germany, trade fair in October.
However, the association emphasized that the war in Ukraine was causing economic turbulence in global markets.
As for the 2023 outlook, Amaplast said it was likely that the industry would see a downturn in all indicators.
The reduction, however, should be "contained to a few percentage points," said the trade association.
While praising the flexibility of the industry to face challenges, Amaplast president Dario Previero, said "the issues that have come one upon the other" in recent years had "dampened propensity toward investment."
In 2023, companies "will have to make a significant effort to innovate … especially as regards sustainability and energy efficiency," he added.