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U.S. plastic equipment shipments fall in the third quarter, more drops anticipated

 Primary plastics machinery and equipment shipments by U.S. manufacturers and importers fell by 19% to $185 million in the third quarter. Those numbers, reported by the Society of the Plastics Industry’s (SPI; Washington DC) Committee on Equipment Statistics, were off from $228 million in the year-ago quarter and down 6% from $196 million in the second quarter. Economist Bill Wood, who analyzed the report, forecast a 5% decline in real total investment for new industrial equipment in 2008 compared with 2007.

 Primary plastics machinery and equipment shipments by U.S. manufacturers and importers fell by 19% to $185 million in the third quarter. Those numbers, reported by the Society of the Plastics Industry’s (SPI; Washington DC) Committee on Equipment Statistics, were off from $228 million in the year-ago quarter and down 6% from $196 million in the second quarter. Economist Bill Wood, who analyzed the report, forecast a 5% decline in real total investment for new industrial equipment in 2008 compared with 2007. Looking forward, an additional 9% drop in spending is anticipated in 2009.

By the numbers, the report says 20 blowmolding machines shipped in the third quarter, which is five fewer than last year and off 6% in dollar value. Injection molding machine shipments fell 26% in the third quarter compared to a year ago, with the total down 18% compared to the second quarter. Single- and twin-screw extrusion shipments decreased 7% from last year but actually rose 13% compared to the second quarter. In auxiliary equipment, $73.7 million was booked in the third quarter of 2008, down 12% compared to a year ago, and 7% lower than the second quarter of 2008.

According to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s industrial production and capacity utilization figures, manufacturing production, which dropped 3.7% in September, rose 0.6% in October. That report found that industrial production in September and October was substantially impacted by hurricanes as well as the aircraft machinist strike. Excluding these, total industrial production is estimated to have dropped by around 2/3% should that be 2-3%, or 0.67%? in both September and October. Total industrial production in October was 4.1% below its level a year earlier. Capacity utilization for total industry rose to 76.4% in October, which is 4.6% points below its average level during the period 1972 to 2007. Rubber and plastics production fell by 1.2% in September and 2.1% in October, with October’s levels down 6.8% compared to 2007.—[email protected]

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