Excellent trend for import-export of machinery, equipment and moulds
As regards the plastics-rubber-machinery-moulds system, in 2016 the trade surplus reached a value of 3.2 billion euros (7.4 billion if we exclude the deficit generated by raw materials) thanks to 22.9 billion euros in exports. Plastics and rubber products and processing machinery both made very positive contributions here.
In 2015, the Italian plastics-rubber-machinery-moulds industry was on the world podium for balance of trade with 51 products, up from 45 in 2014.
Looking at the segment of plastics and rubber processing machinery, equipment and moulds, the most recent foreign trade data published by Istat and elaborated by the Assocomaplast Study Centre for the first two months of the current year show an excellent trend for both imports and exports, with the former up by 16.1% over the same period in 2016 and the latter recording +10.3%.
This double-digit growth justifies the atmosphere of moderate optimism exhibited by Italian manufacturers in the last few months and testifies to an enduring positive trend in the domes-tic market – which appears to have regained vigour after a long period of stagnation – and to further gains in exports, which have always been the driving force behind the sector, generally accounting for more than 70% of production.
As president Grassi reminded members in his speech, Assocomaplast Study Centre estimates that this production exceeded the value of 4.2 billion euros in 2016, climbing back to pre-recession figures. This is partly to be attributed to a positive trend in sales abroad, which increased by 1.7% over 2015 to set a new all-time record at just under 3 billion euros.
The most recent economic survey conducted by Assocomaplast among its members in late May, regarding the first half of 2017 with respect to the same period in 2016, reveals what tends to be a positive mood regarding the trend both in revenues (improving for 39% of the interview-ees and stable for 49%) and in orders (growing for 42% and stable for 52%).
“While remaining prudently cautious”, stated Grassi, “Italian manufacturers of plastics and rubber processing machinery express moderate optimism again in 2017, expecting further increases in production and exports, forecast at around two percentage points”. Their outlook is buoyed by measures to support investment in capital equipment – super-amortization, hyper-amortization, the new Sabatini law, tax deduction for R&D – implemented as part of the National Industrial Plan 4.0. Grassi added in this regard that “for the first time in decades, we have seen real industrial policy planning. Industry 4.0 certainly represents a great opportunity for our companies and for our customers”.
Positive trend in applications for Plast 2018
This favourable economic climate is most probably a factor in the positive trend in applications for Plast 2018 – International exhibition for the plastics and rubber industries (Milan, May 29-June1, 2018) – with over 800 participants already registered as of last April 30, representing a 6% increase in assigned areas as compared to the same deadline in 2015, and a 10% increase in new exhibitors.
As underscored by president Grassi, “these heartening statistics reaffirm the validity of The Innovation Alliance project initiated by the organizer of Plast 2018 (Promaplast, the association’s service company) together with Ipack-Ima, Meat-Tech, Print4All and Intralogistica Italia, leading to an exhibition occupying all the halls of the FieraMilano fairgrounds”.