News

Plastics machinery shipments up in Q2 2017: report

The shipments value of injection molding machinery increased 9 per cent in Q2, the shipments value of single-screw extruders declined by 16 per cent, the shipments value of twin-screw extruders jumped 56 per cent, and the shipments value of blow molding machines slipped down by 2 per cent in Q2, the report said.


Print this page

September 21, 2017 by Canadian Plastics

North American shipments of plastics machinery registered a year-over-year (y/y) gain in Q2 of 2017, reversing a trend of three consecutive quarterly declines, a new report says.

According to statistics compiled and reported by the Plastics Industry Association’s Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES), the preliminary estimate for shipments of primary plastics equipment (injection molding, extrusion, and blow molding equipment) for reporting companies totalled US$335.6 million in the second quarter. This was 6.0 percent higher than the total of US$316.6 million in Q2 of 2016, and it was 10.0 per cent stronger than the revised US$305.3 million from Q1 of 2017. This y/y gain in Q2 followed a revised 8.9 per cent y/y decrease in the quarterly total from Q1.

“The shipments data for plastics equipment posted a solid gain in the second quarter, but it remains to be seen whether an upward trend can be sustained in the second half of the year,” said Bill Wood, of Mountaintop Economics & Research Inc. Wood is the plastics market economist who analyzes and reports on the plastics machinery market for the CES. “I believe a more likely scenario is that the data in the second half of this year will come in flat-to-down. The underlying economic fundamentals in the U.S. should continue to grind gradually higher, and global demand is also expected to improve moderately this year. If Congress passes corporate tax reform in 2017, then I still believe that an uptrend in the machinery data could re-emerge in 2018.”

The shipments value of injection molding machinery increased 9 per cent in Q2 when compared with last year, the shipments value of single-screw extruders declined by 16 per cent, the shipments value of twin-screw extruders (which includes both co-rotating and counter-rotating machines) jumped 56 per cent, and the shipments value of blow molding machines slipped down by 2 per cent in Q2.

The eight-year upward trend in the auxiliary equipment data appeared to level off in the second quarter, the report said, but the level of activity remained strong. This comparison is based on estimated data at this time. Actual comparisons in this year’s quarterly auxiliary data to last year’s quarterly totals are unavailable due to a change in the number of reporting companies, CES said.

“The mixed results from the various segments in the CES machinery data in the second quarter were weaker than the solid gains posted in two other data series that track the overall U.S. industrial machinery sector,” the report said. “According to data compiled by the Census Bureau, the total value for new orders of US industrial machinery jumped 14 percent in Q2 of 2017 when compared with the same period last year.”

The CES also conducts a quarterly survey of plastics machinery suppliers that asks about their future expectations. According to the Q2 survey, 86 per cent of respondents expect market conditions to either hold steady or get better during the next year. This is down moderately from 91 per cent in Q1. The outlook for global market conditions in the coming year was mostly steady in Q2. Expectations for North America called for steady-to-better conditions, but there was an increase in negative sentiment for the coming year. Mexico was expected to be mostly better. The outlook for Latin America called for steady-to-better, while the expectations for Europe and Asia called for mostly steady conditions.

The respondents to the Q2 survey currently expect that medical and packaging will be the strongest end-markets in the coming year. The expectations for demand from the automotive sector were mixed. The outlook for appliances, electrical, and construction sectors called for steady-to-better conditions. Demand from the industrial sector was expected to be mostly steady.

The Plastics Industry Association, formerly SPI, is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and represents nearly one million workers in the U.S. plastics industry.