Plastics machinery shipments up 5.9% year over year in Q2

Milacron quarterly reportPrimary plastics machinery (injection molding and extrusion machines) shipments in North America moderated a bit in Q2 after a strong Q1 2018, according to statistics compiled and reported by the Plastics Industry Association’s (PLASTICS; Washington, DC) Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES). This is the fifth consecutive quarterly year-over-year increase in plastics machinery shipments.

The preliminary estimate of shipments of primary plastics equipment for reporting companies totaled $335.2 million in the second quarter of this year, representing a moderate increase of 1.6% from the $329.8 million revised figure in the previous quarter, but a 5.9% increase from Q2 of 2017.

“Plastics machinery shipment seemed to have hit a speed bump in the second quarter, but there’s no indication that shipments for the remainder of the year are trending down,” said Perc Pineda, Chief Economist at PLASTICS. “U.S. economic fundamentals remain strong. As the economy fast approaches—if it hasn’t already attained—full capacity, businesses will have to cope with tighter resources, particularly labor, and output increases will not be as robust as in previous periods.”

The shipments value of injection molding machinery rose 4.5% in Q2 compared to the same period last year. The shipments value of single-screw extruders increased 23.1% from the previous quarter. The shipments value of twin-screw extruders—which includes both co-rotating and counter-rotating machines—increased 80%. “We can expect to see continued uneven quarterly data moving forward, but by and large the outlook for plastics machinery remains positive,” Pineda added.

The CES report noted that the percentage of respondents who reported that their customers were having difficulty obtaining financing for new equipment increased to 11.4% in Q2, a 7.4% increase from the first quarter. That is in sync with rising interest rates, as U.S. monetary policy continues its gradual tightening. However, 88.6% of respondents reported no difficulty among customers finding financing in the second quarter, which suggests that rates were not cost prohibitive and financing for new plastics equipment remains largely accessible.

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