Canadian Plastics

Primary plastics machinery shipments in North America down in Q3

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Compared to last quarter, total shipments of injection molding and extrusion machinery dropped by 0.5% to US$293.7 million in the third quarter of 2019, new figures from the Plastics Industry Association show.

The shipments value of primary plastics processing machinery in North America decreased in the third quarter of 2019, according to the Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES) of the Plastics Industry Association.

Compared to Q2 2019 shipments, total Q3 2019 shipments dropped by 0.5% to US$293.7 million. One bright spot was extrusion machinery shipments, which increased in the third quarter, with single and twin-screw extruder shipments rising 5.3% and 13.9%, respectively. Shipments of injection molding equipment fell 1.9%.

Shipments for Q3 were down 15.9% from the same quarter in 2019. The shipments value of twin-screw extruders fell by 29.3% and single-screw extruders decreased by 5.6%. Injection molding machinery shipments were down 15.5% in value from the third quarter of 2018.

“The plastics industry is a mature industry and its growth will continue to track gross domestic product (GDP),” Perc Pineda, PhD, chief economist at the Washington, D.C.-based Plastics Industry Association, said in a statement. “The third quarter numbers moving sideways are in sync with weaker manufacturing activity in the economy this year.”


Internationally, exports of plastics machinery totalled US$378.4 in the third quarter, a 0.1% decrease from the second quarter. Mexico, Canada, and Germany remained the largest U.S. export markets. These three countries combined represented 48% of U.S. plastics machinery exports in the third quarter.

China was the fourth largest market in Q3, with plastics machinery exports totalling US$22.2 million, a 27.6% drop from the second quarter. Despite uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the UK remained one of the top 10 export markets for plastics machinery in the third quarter. Imports of plastics machinery decreased 0.9% in the third quarter to US$785.7 million. Fewer exports and imports have caused the plastics machinery trade deficit to decrease by 1.7%.

“The challenges and concerns of the business sector of the economy today – and the plastics industry is no exception – are largely driven first by external factors – weak global economic growth and ongoing trade disputes – feeding into the U.S., which is largely an open economy,” Pineda said. “It is safe to say, that it is unlikely that the ongoing trade disputes will be resolved this year.”


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