MILAN—Exports of plastics and rubber machinery from Italy increased 5 percent during 2014, and it appears as if they will grow more this year, Assocomaplast reported.
The rise in overseas purchases helped sustain Italian machinery manufacturers “in a period where the domestic market showed only timid signs of recovery in the very recent months,” the trade body said in a statement.
Output from the machinery sector “again touched the threshold of $4.8 billion,” the association estimated. This, it added, further tilted the Italian trade balance in a positive direction, taking it “well beyond the $2.2-billion mark”.
Looking forward, Assocomaplast noted a “generally optimistic outlook” among member companies. In a survey, about a third expected further increases in orders and sales in the current half year, as well as higher exports.
In a regional analysis, Assocomaplast said Europe, particularly those in the European Union, strengthened as a market for Italian machinery in 2014, as did NAFTA due to increased exports to the U.S.
Trade with ‘extra-EU countries' was, however, dragged down by the negative performance in Russia, partially as a result of the sanctions applied in response to the Ukraine crisis and the collapse of the ruble.
Elsewhere, the trade group noted a “lackluster trend” in sales to Brazil, while an upswing in supplies to converters in China, Vietnam, Indonesia and India helped compensate for slowdowns in South Korea, Japan and Thailand.
Assocomaplast is an the Italian trade association that includes more than 160 makers of machinery, molds and equipment for plastics and rubber.