The polyurethane machinery industry is highly entrepreneurial and is made up of large and small firms. How did they find 2017?
From large to small, advanced to simple – the polyurethane machinery sector is a complicated place. In 2017, companies were less optimistic than in 2016, as sentiment levels returned towards the long-term average.
In terms of materials, 2017 was characterised by shortages, tightness, and high prices. Several senior members of the industry were worried that it could lead to other materials taking the place of polyurethane.
Machinery capital purchases are made by companies with a view to the next two or three years. Looking at the data from the machinery survey, it is too soon to say if the high price of raw materials is having an impact but, according to figures from the UTIMcIndex, which is compiled from the responses to our survey, machinery makers are slightly more pessimistic in 2017 than they were in 2016.
The index has dropped from 4.8 to 4.2 over the course of a year and has returned to about the same level as it was between 2012 and 2015. During that time, it fluctuated between 4.5 and 3.8. See Chart 1.
This index is calculated by taking responses from the survey about whether companies are planning to build, buy, consolidate, divest or close one or more of their plants. For more details, see the box below.
This year is noteworthy because, according to the survey, there were approximately twice…