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China’s offset press machine imports are slowly recovering

December 23,2020

In 2020, the printing industry, as well as some other industries, has been unexpectedly and violently impacted by COVID-19. However, according to the latest financial reports of several major offset press machine manufacturers, offset press machine sales in China are showing signs of stabilization and revival.

China’s offset press machine imports are slowly recovering from the hard-hit of Covid-19

In recent years, imported brands have been the top choice for most companies. Changes in the import of offset press machine can basically reflect the ups and downs of Chinese companies' investment confidence and capacity, and even the business climate of the printing industry.

In the long run, China’s offset press machine imports are now in a continuous recovery period after bottoming out in 2016. In 2011, China’s offset press machine imports reached a historical high of USD 1.111 billion. Since then, it has fallen all the way, and in 2016 it fell to the lowest in nearly a decade of USD $414 million. Beginning in 2017, the import began to rebound continuously and rose to USD 743 million in 2019, which is higher than 2015 and lower than 2014.

Changes in China’s offset press machine imports (unit: USD $100 million)

In 2020, the sudden pandemic interrupted the continued rebound of offset press machine imports. From January to September, it was USD $439 million, down 21.92% year-on-year. At the beginning of the epidemic, the decline in the import was relatively low. From January to February, the import was USD 79.96 million, down 19.26% year-on-year, while from January to March, it was USD 142 million, and the decline narrowed to 8.92%. Since April, companies in the printing industry have resumed production in an all-round way, but the cumulative decline in the import has not fallen but risen. It remained above 20% for six months from March to September, and the drop from April to August fluctuated slightly around 25%, with the lowest being 24.39% and the highest being 26.47%. In other words, during this period, the actual import of offset press machine has been hovering at a low level, and there is no obvious sign of recovery. By September, the total import was USD 439 million, down 21.92% year-on-year, and the decline narrowed by 4.55% compared to the period from January to August, showing signs of recovery.

Comparison between offset press machine imports in 2020 and 2019 (unit: ten thousand USD)

 

Splitting the data by month will clearly show that, in the first nine months of this year, two months’ imports exceeded the same period in 2019: one was in March, which was USD $62.15 million, up 9.04% year-on-year; the other was in September, which was USD 59.47 million, up 29.10% year-on-year. The remaining months all declined year-on-year, among which the largest decline was in April, down from USD $86.93 million in the same period in 2019 to USD $37.65 million this year, with a year-on-year decrease of 56.69%, and the slightest decline was in May, down from USD $50.78 million in the same period in 2019 to USD $42.34 million this year, with a year-on-year decrease of 16.62%. The declines from June to August were 27.98%, 29.97%, and 29.42%, respectively, with little difference. We can see that, so far, even if the actual import of China’s offset press machine has recovered, it is very slow and the Chinese companies in printing industry are very cautious.

 

Monthly comparison between offset press machine imports in 2020 and 2019 (unit: ten thousand USD)

 

The import of offset press machine in September increased by nearly 30% year-on-year, which seems to be amazing, but there is an important reason. The September of 2019 was a relatively low point in the import of offset press machine, only USD 46.07 million, compared with the previous eight months.

Almost no country can be immune to the influences of COVID-19. Judging from the sales of several major offset press machine manufacturers, being impacted by COVID-19, both the US and European offset press machinery markets have suffered heavy losses. Although China has gotten rid of the deep impact of the pandemic, the market still saw a sharp drop from April to September. This may because that it takes time to restore investment confidence.

If all offset press machine manufacturers' orders from China from July to September basically return to the level of the same period last year, it can be expected that in the next few months, the import of offset press machine is likely to gradually recover. Investment confidence is usually positively correlated with the business climate of the industry. The recovery of China’s offset press machine imports indicates that the printing market is really picking up.