Paper and carton converting and forme production are driving Italian machinery exports, which are also progressing in printing and going down in converting. The import trend is quite different. Acimga data for the period January-May 2023.

Acimga (Association of Italian Manufacturers of Machinery for the Graphic, Converting and Related Industries) has processed ISTAT data on trade in printing, converting and bookbinding machinery in the first five months of 2023. They document first of all the increase in exports compared to the same period of the previous year, and the parallel decrease in imports from China, but not only.

Who’s doing well and who less

Looking at exports, the most dynamic segment is that of paper converting machinery, which scores +45.3%, followed by machinery and materials for the production of formes (+34.4) and, at a great distance, +9% for printing machinery. The development of exports of bookbinding machinery was more modest (+2%), while foreign trade in converting machinery was negative (-2.5%). It should be remembered, however, that these machines account for 48.2% of the sector’s export share, for a value of 315.3 million euro, followed by 33.7% or 220.6 million for printing machinery: these two categories together account for 81.9% of exports of graphic arts machinery. Analysing imports, on the other hand, we see that paper converting machinery retains the first place in the ranking with +25.8% while the other types of machinery grow by a few points (+2.1% those for the preparation of printing formes and +1.2% those for converting) or even have a negative sign: the import of printing machinery marks -11.6% and that of bookbinding machinery -12%. In total, imports in the sector recorded -2.2%.

Exports: Europe falls, America and Africa grow

In value terms, sales abroad amounted to 654.3 million, up +6.4% compared to 2022. While there was good growth in America and Africa, exports were lacklustre in Asia and, above all, in Europe. In the Americas, which absorb 26.3% of the sector’s Made in Italy, the increase in sales is +13.9%, while in Asia (17.9% of the total) growth is only 3.6%. Even less brilliant, as mentioned, is Europe, which absorbs 48.4% of Italian exports, expanding by 1.4%. Very positive results, however, in Africa, which grew by +26.6% and now accounts for 6.5% of our manufacturers’ foreign sales. Looking at the overall ranking, the top market is the United States (99.5 million), ahead of Germany (54.1 million). This is followed by Spain, France and China; further behind are Turkey, Poland and Mexico.

Imports: China -34.5%

Imports amounted to 278 million euro, down slightly on 2022 (-2.2%). European suppliers, which account for 83.9% of imports, recorded an increase of 2.6%, while Asia, source of 12.7% of imports, was down of 32.7%. America, from which 3.3% of machinery comes, more than doubled its sales (+114%). Italy’s leading machinery supplier is Germany (113 million euro) followed by France (37.3 million); far behind are China and the Netherlands, with values of 23.8 and 20.9 million euro respectively. Among the main suppliers, there is no uniform trend: the French (+19.4%) and the Dutch (+24.1%) did very well during the period under review, in contrast to the decline of the Germans (-6%) and the sharp drop of the Chinese (-34.5%).

Trade of Italian printing, converting and binding machines by areas

Period: January to May 2023. Values expressed in million of euros.

Export Import
  Value var % Quota   Value var % Quota
European Union Countries 246,8 4,6 37,7%   220,5 4,0 79,4%
Other European Countries 69,5 -8,5 10,6%   12,5 -17,3 4,5%
Total Europe 316,4 1,4 48,4%   233,0 2,6 83,9%
Eastern Asia 66,6 18,2 10,2%   34,1 -33,7 12,3%
Middle Eastern and South Asia 50,6 -10,9 7,7%   1,2 10,3 0,4%
Total Asia 117,2 3,6 17,9%   35,3 -32,7 12,7%
North America 125,0 7,4 19,1%   8,4 118,7 3,0%
Central and South America 46,8 35,8 7,2%   0,7 65,9 0,2%
Total America 171,8 13,9 26,3%   9,1 113,6 3,3%
Africa 42,4 26,6 6,5%   0,2 -36,5 0,1%
Oceania 6,5 14,6 1,0%   0,2 2662,5 0,1%
Total World 654,3 6,4 100%   277,8 -2,2 100%