The Italian plastics and rubber machinery sector has registered declines in both exports and imports, according to the half-year figures released by the Italian statistics institute ISTAT.
Machinery imports for the first six months of the year fell 17 percent year-over-year while exports slowed by about 5 percent, said the Italian plastics and rubber machinery association Amaplast, citing ISTAT figures.
Most significantly, said Amaplast, trade shrank with Italy’s principal and historic business partner Germany. The supply of Italian machinery to German processors fell 26 percent year-over-year while imports from Germany declined by a third.
Amaplast did not provide specific figures for the level of trade between the two countries, but said the drop came “as no surprise.”
The slump, it said, was “an accurate reflection” of Germany’s economic slowdown, in particular in the industrial sector.
While overall imports declined, particularly from major European suppliers such as Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland, purchases from Asian suppliers, led by China and Japan, improved slightly.
In terms of exports, the figures for flexographic printing machines and extruders showed an upward trend while the market for foam machinery remained subdued.
From a geographical point of view, Europe, which remains by far the largest export region, lost market share, as a result of an approximately 9 percent decrease in overall value.
Amaplast linked the decline to lower sales in markets outside the European Union, particularly a 37 percent drop in trade with Turkey, which more than offset the 2 percent improvement from Russia.
NAFTA remained the second-largest export market, but registered a mere 1 percent growth in terms of exports.
Imports from Mexico and Canada fell 12 percent and 39 percent respectively, while sales to the U.S. grew 15 percent year-over-year.
Overall, exports to South America decreased 6 percent, even though the most important markets — such as Brazil, Argentina and Colombia — registered growths of 5 percent, 18 percent and 12 percent respectively.