The 2013 balance sheet for the sector completed by Assocomaplast, incorporating ISTAT foreign trade data, shows that recovery in exports, which gained momentum particularly in the last quarter of 2013, with a last minute surge in December, allowed the Italian manufacturers to compensate for the lasting weakness in the domestic market. The very slight decline in demand from abroad, which reached 2.55 billion euros and represents over 65% of total production, which topped 3.9 billion euros, kept revenue losses within 2.5% with respect to 2012 and further improved an already very positive balance of trade.
In terms of revenues and exports in 2013, Assocomaplast member companies performed better than the average for the sector, with a positive trend in production (+1.3%) and greater dynamism in sales abroad.
Furthermore, the summary of results from the latest survey conducted by Assocomaplast among its members have one third of respondents expecting an increase in business in the current half year, while 46% envisage substantial stability with order levels in January 2014 virtually identical to those in the previous month and with respect to January 2013.
Likewise, the panel of Italian processors responding to the early March survey on the situation and trend in the sector were moderately optimistic, pointing to encouraging prospects for the upcoming 3 or 4 months in terms of orders, production, raw materials purchase prices and sales prices of finished goods.
A quick analysis of exports reveals that the stability has been conditioned by strong growth in injection moulding machines, where sales increased by 32% to over 126 million euros. A negative trend, on the other hand, was registered for extruders and blow moulding machines. The trend for moulds, which represent the most significant item, with over a fourth of the total, has remained in line with the overall performance.