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9/26/2018 | 1 MINUTE READ

Machinery Shipments Rise in the Second Quarter

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Plastics machinery shipments in North America grew for the fifth consecutive quarter on a year-over-year basis, while also topping first quarter results.

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Plastics machinery shipments were up 5.9% in the second quarter of 2018 as compared to the same quarter in 2017, reaching $335.2 million. That figure was up slightly—1.6%—compared to the first three months of 2018, which saw a revised shipment value of $329.8 million, according to the Plastics Industry Association’s (PLASTICS) Committee on Equipment Statistics (CES).

Perc Pineda, chief economist at PLASTICS, noted in a release that shipments hit a “speed bump” in the second quarter compared to a strong first quarter of 2018, adding that no downward trend for the rest of the year was evident. “U.S. economic fundamentals remain strong,” Pineda said in a release. “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.”

Pineda told Plastics Technology that industry watchers looking to gauge the influence of the massive NPE2018 show in May should look elsewhere. “These results do not include the impact of NPE2018,” Pineda said. “We will probably see those numbers in the latter part of this year or early next year.”

Injection molding shipment value rose 4.5% in second quarter of 2018, compared to the year-ago figures. Single-screw extruders shipments value rose 23.1% over the first quarter, while the shipments value of twin-screw extruders—co-rotating and counter-rotating— jumped 80.0 %.

Monetary Policy and Capital Purchase Cash Flow

In a second quarter survey, CES members reported that their 11.4% of their customers had difficulty obtaining financing for new equipment increased—an increase of 7.4% compared to the first quarter. The CES report said that outcome syncs with rising interest rates as U.S. monetary policy continues its gradual tightening. Most recently, the Federal Reserve raised the target range for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points from 2 to 2.25% during its September 2018 meeting. Despite that possible headwind, the majority of survey respondents—88.6%—reported no financing difficulties for their customers in the second quarter.

On Sept. 20, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation released the September 2018 Monthly Confidence Index for the Equipment Finance Industry, showing a rise in total confidence. Overall, confidence in the equipment finance market reached 65.5 in September, up from 60.7 in August. The index considers prevailing business conditions and expectations for the future as reported by key executives.
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