Canadian Plastics

U.S. plastics machinery shipments strong in Q3 2015: SPI

Plastics machinery demand, sales remained moderate, but at a high level, new report says.

December 5, 2015   Canadian Plastics

Shipments of plastics processing machinery in the U.S. were strong in the third quarter of 2015, according to the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.’s Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES).

“The trend in CES shipments data flattened out in the middle of 2015, but at a high level. Activity levels in the U.S. manufacturing sector slowed in the third quarter, and plastics machinery suppliers felt the effects,” said plastics economist Bill Wood, who reports on the plastics machinery market for the CES. “But the plastics industry continues to expand faster than many other industrial segments. In 2016, real U.S. GDP will continue to grow at a pace that is at least in the range of 2.0 to 2.5%. And demand for plastics machinery will remain solid due to the positive effects of steadily rising aggregate demand.”

Shipments of primary plastics equipment (injection molding, single-screw extrusion, twin-screw extrusion and blow molding equipment) for reporting companies totaled US$300.6 million in Q3 2015. This was a small gain of 0.8% from the total of US$298.4 million in Q2 of 2015, but it was a drop of 4.6% when compared with the same quarter last year. The year-to-date total value of shipments is almost exactly the same as it was during the comparable period last year, the CES report said.

According to the report, the shipments value of injection molding machinery declined 2.4% in Q3 when compared with last year, the shipments value of single-screw extruders advanced 3.3% from last year, while the value of shipments of twin-screw extruders (including both co-rotating and counter-rotating machines) dropped 37.6% in Q3. The quarterly estimated shipments value of blow molding machines dropped 9%.

While the manufacturing sector “hit a plateau” in Q3 2015, Wood said, this “should be considered a period of consolidation rather than a harbinger of an impending economic recession. This plateau notwithstanding, the recovery in the U.S. economy is still intact, and the plastics industry will continue to be a growth leader in the U.S. manufacturing sector.”

The CES survey, conducted four times a year with plastics machinery suppliers, also shows that they “remain optimistic” about market demand. For 2016, 94% of respondents expect conditions to be steady or better, with quoting activity in Q3 tracking steady or higher for 84% of the survey participants.

Mexico is the only global region where a majority expects market conditions for machinery suppliers to improve in the coming year, the survey showed. Expectations for North America and Latin America are for steady-to-better market conditions, while the outlook for Europe and Asia is steady-to-weaker.


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