Plastics Processing Closes Best Quarter in Recorded History

March comes in at 57.7. Index for the first-quarter of 2018 reaches 57.1

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Hitting 57.7 in March, the Gardner Business Index (GBI): Plastics Processing index hiked the overall first-quarter index to 57.1, its best quarter in recorded history. The index is based on responses to a monthly survey from subscribers to Plastics Technology magazine.

New-orders growth was slightly slower than production growth for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2017. Supplier deliveries expanded strongly in March, which should support faster production growth in future months. March’s index reading was driven higher by production, supplier deliveries, and new orders. Backlog, employment, and exports all pulled the Plastics Processing Index, which is calculated as an average, lower during the month.

All components of the index—except for exports—experienced growth during the month.

Among only custom processors, March represented the second-best reading in the history of the index. The index was higher only once before, in early 2014. Growth among custom processors has continually accelerated over the last five months. In March, custom processors reported that supplier deliveries expanded very sharply, while growth in new orders and production increased, but at a slower rate than reported in February.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Guckes is the chief economist for Gardner Intelligence, a division of Gardner Business Media, Cincinnati. He has performed economic analysis, modeling, and forecasting work for nearly 20 years among a wide range of industries. He received his BA in political science and economics from Kenyon College and his MBA from Ohio State University. Contact: (513) 527-8800; mguckes@gardnerweb.com. Learn more about the Plastics Processing Index at gardnerintelligence.com.