The full-year forecast developed by MECS-Amaplast statistical studies centre shows double-digit growth in 2021 for the Italian plastics and rubber processing machinery, equipment, and moulds industry.
According to the latest estimates, by year end, production should be ‘a hair’s breadth’ from pre-pandemic levels said Amaplast president, Dario Previero, reaching 4.35 billion euros, an 11.5% increase over 2020.
The domestic market is the main driver of the Italian plastics and rubber machinery sector in Italy, according to the trade association. In particular, customers orders for machinery and complete processing lines have surged according to the latest economic survey over the first nine months of 2021. The year is now forecast to close with growth of nearly fifteen points and a value of 1.35 billion euros.
Exports, too, are boosting the balance of trade and are expected to return to a value on the order of 3 billion euros. Indeed, 8 of the top 10 Italian export destination countries, collectively accounting for nearly 60% of the total, have demonstrated exceedingly healthy growth in demand. Exports to Poland, for example were up 17%, while demand from China skyrocketed 83%.
With the volume of - mainly machinery - orders received in the first three quarters of the year, both from Italian and foreign customers, covering production for the next six months, the sector is currently in a comfortable position. However, the replacement parts segment, while in the positive range, has shown a more lacklustre performance.
Unsurprisingly, demand was highest and most sustained from the packaging and medical sectors, with construction and automotive following the trend at a more sedate pace.
Concern remains about the various disruptive factors, ranging from raw materials costs and procurement problems to increased energy and transport costs and restrictions on personal mobility, which are still unresolved.
“However, the clear recovery recorded in 2021 - with the first signs of an upswing already observed in the last months of 2020 - gives us good reason to expect performance beyond pre-crisis levels already next year,” said Previero.
”Faced with the challenges posed by the context and markets, the companies have again succeeded in developing tailor-made solutions in terms of technological content, sustainability, and efficiency.”