Canadian Plastics

Sharp decrease in North American machinery shipments in Q1 2024, report says

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Shipments of injection molding and extrusion machinery dropped nearly 25 per cent in Q1 2024, according to the Plastics Industry Association.

Image Credit: Plastics Industry Association

Shipments of injection molding and extrusion machinery in North America dropped nearly 25 per cent in the first quarter of 2024, according to new figures from the Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES) of the Plastics Industry Association.

The shipment value was US$261.9 million, CES said, which is down 24.8 per cent from the previous quarter and 24.2 per cent year-over-year (Y/Y), according to initial estimates.

Single-screw extrusion machinery suffered a “significant” decrease, down 47.7 per cent quarter-over-quarter (Q/Q) and 23.4 per cent Y/Y. Twin-screw extrusion showed a 7.0 per cent decrease from Q4 and a more substantial 17.0 per cent decrease Y/Y.

Injection molding machinery shipments fell by 33.8 per cent from Q4 and 24.9 per cent Y/Y.


“It is common to see lower shipments in the first quarter of each year,” said Perc Pineda, chief economist with the Plastics Industry Association. “Long-term data confirms this consistent pattern. Accounting for such seasonality, shipments decreased by 8.5 per cent Q/Q. This time, plastics machinery suppliers reacted in alignment with the overall pullback in the macroeconomy and a still-high interest rate environment.”

In Q1 2024, U.S. total exports of plastics equipment fell by 7.4 per cent, while imports rose 7.0 per cent from the previous quarter. Mexico and Canada jointly accounted for US$191.4 million in exports, 47.9 per cent of total U.S. plastics machinery exports globally.

“While still strong, the U.S. economy is poised for another year of growth, albeit at a slightly lower rate,” Pineda said. “However, growth in housing is hampered by higher borrowing costs, which also applies to higher capital expenditure financing in the business sector, including equipment investment in plastics manufacturing. Manufacturing holds significant potential for growth, currently hindered by prolonged inventory adjustments and the rebalancing of consumption between goods and services.”

Results from the CES’s quarterly survey, meanwhile, showed that 74.4 per cent of participants anticipated steady or improved market conditions over the next 12 months. Almost half (48.9 per cent) indicated an increase in quoting activity compared to 17.1 per cent of participants in the previous survey.


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