North American shipments of plastics machinery posted the first back-to-back quarterly declines since the recovery from the Great Recession began for the plastics industry in 2010, according to statistics compiled and reported by the Plastics Industry Association’s (PLASTICS; Washington, DC) Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES).
The preliminary estimate for shipments of primary plastics equipment, which includes injection molding, extrusion and blowmolding equipment, for reporting companies totaled $361.7 million in the fourth quarter. This was 7.4% lower than the total of $390.6 million from Q4 of 2015, but it was 24.2% higher than the $291.3 million from Q3 of 2016. For the entire year, shipments of primary plastics equipment were up 1.2% when compared with the annual total from 2015.
“After rising steadily for six years, shipments of plastics equipment hit a plateau in 2016. The annual total was just high enough to extend the string of annual increases to seven years,” said plastics market economist Bill Wood of Mountaintop Economics & Research Inc., who provided analysis for the CES report. The sales slump may continue into the first half of 2017, he added, “but the underlying economic fundamentals will gradually improve. If Congress passes corporate tax reform in 2017, then the uptrend in this data may re-emerge later this year.”
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