Citing figures by Italy’s state statistics body ISTAT, Amaplast also reported a 12% increase in imports of machinery and a 16% year-on-year rise in machinery exports in the first nine months of 2017.
Over the nine-month period, some 70% of Italian production was exported, with most machinery types showing “good performance,” Amaplast added in its 19 Dec statement.
The gains were linked to “technological innovation” and the development of equipment with Industry 4.0 capabilities, said Alessandro Grassi, president of the Italian rubber & plastics machinery manufacturers association.
Some of the best performing segments were thermoforming machines, with 51% growth, and extruders, with 19% growth. By contrast, mono/multifilament and machines for foamed products demonstrated a markedly weaker growth during this same period.
In terms of geography, sales to other European countries registered 20% growth, to represent 61% of all Italian polymer machinery exports.
Amaplast said the growth reflected significantly higher sales in Germany, Spain and France, which posted 25%, 11% and 15% growth respectively.
In addition, Amaplast noted “continued recovery” in sales to Russia. A healthy 109% growth there brought Russia back within the top 10 export destinations for Italian machinery, Amaplast said.
There was also positive news from NAFTA, where Italian plastics & rubber machinery exports rose 12%, despite lower imports to Mexico.
The opposite trend was seen in Asia, however, as two principal markets in the Middle East - Iran and Saudi Arabia – posted declines of 5% and 34%, respectively.
According to Amaplast, an “excellent” trend in the UAE and Israel was not enough to offset the declines, leading to an overall fall of 5% in the Middle East region.
Elsewhere in Asia, two major Far East markets, China and India continued to record “negative or very weak trends”, with China posting a 11% decline and India showing a mere 1% growth.
Africa, which absorbs less than 3% of Italian exports of plastic and rubber processing machinery, saw a 22% rise in demand. The improvement was mainly noted in the Mediterranean countries, led by Algeria and Egypt.