Report from the Plastics Industry Association’s Committee on Equipment Statistics
Decline of Plastics Machinery Shipments in the First Quarter
While 2018 ended with strong plastics machinery shipments, 2019 has started soft. The preliminary estimate of the shipments value from reporting companies totaled $273.0 million—27.6% lower than the fourth quarter of 2018. Injection molding shipments fell 26.3% and single- and twin-extrusion equipment shipments decreased 24.8% and 46.2%, respectively. Year over year, the value of shipments for single- and twin-screw extrusion equipment rose 19.8% and 8.3%, respectively.“ First quarter data usually comes in soft, but the declines reflect the expectation of weaker U.S. and global economic growth,” said Perc Pineda, PhD, chief economist of Plastics. “Price effects were also at play in the first quarter. The producer price index on industrial machinery manufacturing has been on a decline from its peak in the third quarter last year.”
Suppliers Show Cautious Optimism
CES also conducts a quarterly survey of plastics machinery suppliers that asks about present market conditions and expectations for the future. In the coming quarter, 70% of the respondents expect conditions to either improve or hold steady. As for the next 12 months, 60% expect the market to be steady-to-better. While growth expectations for the industrial and packaging markets remained strong, a weaker global economic forecast, the unresolved U.S.-China trade issue, and the anxious anticipation surrounding the passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) by the three countries involved were reflected in the survey results.
Knock-on Effects Should Be Considered
On the international front, plastics machinery exports totaled $363.1 million, with Mexico and Canada remaining the largest U.S. export markets. Exports to Canada and Mexico in the first quarter were $77.7 million and $72.9 million, respectively. As previously projected by Plastics, plastics machinery exports fell short of $400 million - following the $416.5 million in exports in the fourth quarter last year. “Demand in the plastics industry is expected to remain positive against the backdrop of slower U.S. economic growth this year. However, plastics machinery makers should also consider that weaker global economic conditions will have knock-on effects on the industry,” Pineda added. (bf)
About Plastics Industry Association
The Plastics Industry Association (Plastics), formerly SPI, seated in Washington, DC, USA, is the only organization that supports the entire plastics supply chain, representing nearly one million workers in the $404 billion U.S. industry. Since 1937, Plastics has been working to make its members and the industry more globally competitive while advancing recycling and sustainability.
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