U.S. plastics industry has 'extremely good chance' of rebounding to pre-recession production levels by end of 2012 if trends continue, SPI executive says

LOS ANGELES , April 3, 2012 () –

There is an “extremely good chance” that U.S. plastics production by the end of this year will hit levels not seen since before the global economic recession, said a senior official with the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., reported Plastics News on April 1.

The forecast is based on “trends continuing in the same direction” without anything substantially negative occurring, such as a natural disaster or a European meltdown, said Michael Taylor, senior director of international trade for the Washington, D.C.-based trade association.

While the U.S. plastics industry is recovering along with overall American manufacturing, it is not happening across all subsectors, said Taylor during an April 1 speech at NPE2012, which was sponsored by SPI, Plastics News reported.

In plastics, “resin stands out among the four cores as recovering the best,” said Taylor. The most “problematic” is mold making, while machinery and plastics products manufacturing are “doing pretty well,” he said.

As of mid-2011, mold making was at about 85% of production levels it achieved in 2007 but showed signs of closing its trade gap at the end of the year, he said. Taylor noted that he was uncertain why mold making was lagging, reported Plastics News.

Some mold making companies are concerned about SPI’s support of free trade agreements, including new pacts negotiated with South Korea and Colombia, said Taylor, adding that SPI is interested in investigating any complaints about unfair trade practices.

Though the gross domestic product for the plastics industry should rebound this year, the 2011 outlook for the sector’s jobs and the number of facilities will stay below pre-recession levels, said Taylor, who spoke during the NPE show’s forum on exporting, Plastics News reported.

The primary source of this article is Plastics News, Akron, Ohio, on April 1, 2012.

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