North American plastics machinery shipments up in Q1 2018: report
The preliminary estimate of shipments of primary plastics equipment (injection molding and extrusion) for reporting companies totaled US$333 million in the first quarter – 15 per cent higher than the total US$290 million in Q1 of 2017.
Plastics machinery shipments in North America rose in the first quarter of 2018 on a year-over-year basis, according to the statistics compiled and reported by the Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES) of the Washington, D.C.-based Plastics Industry Association.
This represents the fourth consecutive quarterly year-over-year increase in plastics machinery shipments.
The preliminary estimate of shipments of primary plastics equipment (injection molding and extrusion) for reporting companies totaled US$333 million in the first quarter. This was 15 per cent higher than the total US$290 million in Q1 of 2017, CES said, but 11 per cent lower than the US$378 million from Q4 of 2017.
“Shipments of plastics machinery tend to be lower in the first quarter relative to other quarters due to seasonality,” said Plastics Industry Association’s chief economist Perc Pineda. “Still, the U.S. economy was off to a good start in the first quarter. Business confidence remains high – helped by corporate tax reform enacted last year. Plastics equipment shipments data are in sync with healthy corporate profits in the manufacturing sector, including the plastics industry.”
The shipments value of injection molding machinery increased 22 per cent in Q1 compared to the fourth quarter of last year, CES said. For the first quarter of 2018, there were 984 injection molding machines shipped in North America. The shipments value of single-screw extruders declined 14 per cent during the same period, meanwhile; and the shipments value of twin-screw extruders – which includes both co-rotating and counter-rotating machines – decreased 27 per cent. Forty-one twin-screw extrusion machines were shipped in Q1 2018, CES said.
The U.S. total export value for plastics machinery in the first quarter was US$404 million, a 7 per cent decrease from the previous quarter (US$437 million), but a 7 per cent increase from a year ago (US$377 million). “Plastics machinery imports decreased 12 per cent in the first quarter (US$829 million),” CES said. “From the first quarter of last year, machinery imports rose 5 per cent (US$784 million).” The U.S. continues to have a trade deficit in plastics machinery, CES also said, which was US$425 million in the first quarter – a 17 per cent decrease from the fourth quarter last year, but 4 per cent higher than a year ago (US$406 million).
In a survey conducted by CES, the respondents expect that construction, appliances, and packaging will be strong end-markets in the next 12 months. “Their market outlook remains stable, as more respondents noted that they expected market conditions to be unchanged for the year due to the fact that the U.S. economy is at full employment capacity,” CES said.