Canadian Plastics

Plastics machinery shipments up in Q3 2017: report

The preliminary estimate for shipments of injection molding, extrusion, and blow molding equipment for reporting companies totaled US$350.8 million in the third quarter – 20.4 per cent higher than the total of US$291.3 million in Q3 of 2016.

December 15, 2017   Canadian Plastics

North American shipments of primary plastics machinery posted a strong year-over-year (y/y) increase in Q3 of 2017, marking the second consecutive quarterly y/y increase, 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 totaled US$350.8 million in the third quarter. This was 20.4 per cent higher than the total of US$291.3 million in Q3 of 2016, and it was 4.0 per cent stronger than the revised US$337.2 million from Q2 of 2017.

This y/y gain in Q2 followed a revised 6.5 per cent y/y increase in the quarterly total from Q2.

“After hitting a plateau in the second half of 2016, the upward trend in the shipments data for plastics equipment re-emerged in the third quarter of 2017,” said to 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. “Quarterly gains of 20 per cent will not be sustained going forward, but the plastics industry is entering the New Year with more momentum than it did a year ago. I still expect the underlying economic fundamentals in the U.S. to push higher, and global demand will also improve in 2018.”

The shipments value of injection molding machinery increased 21 per cent in Q3 when compared with last year, the report said. “The shipments value of single-screw extruders declined by 2 per cent,” it said. “The shipments value of twin-screw extruders (which includes both co-rotating and counter-rotating machines) jumped 61 per cent.”

The shipments value of blow molding machines was not reported in Q3.

Demand for auxiliary equipment also appeared to be strong in the third quarter according to the latest estimate for total bookings. “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,” the report said.

The strong results in the CES machinery data in the third quarter were matched by solid gains in two other data series that track the U.S. industrial machinery sector. According to data compiled by the Census Bureau, the total value for new orders of US industrial machinery escalated 8 per cent in Q3 of 2017 when compared with last year. And according to data compiled and reported by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, business investment in industrial equipment increased 7.6 per cent (seasonally-adjusted, annualized rate) in Q3 of 2017 when compared with the previous year.

The CES also conducts a quarterly survey of plastics machinery suppliers that asks about their future expectations. According to the Q3 survey, 87 per cent of respondents expect market conditions to either hold steady or get better during the next year. This is up slightly from 86 per cent in Q2.

Global market conditions in the coming year are expected to come in steady-to-better, which is a slightly more optimistic than the outlook in Q2. Expectations for North America improved slightly. Expectations for Latin America and Europe were unchanged. Expectations for Mexico declined, but there was a big increase in positive sentiment for Asia in the coming year.

The respondents to the Q3 survey currently expect that packaging will be the strongest end-market in the coming year. The outlook for demand from the electronics sector also improved. The outlook for all other major end-markets called for steady-to-better conditions.


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