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Global demand for packaging machinery is tipped to rise by 4.9 per cent per annum over the next three years, according to a new report from Italy’s Ucima Research Department.

Presenting the results of the forecast study at its headquarters in Modena last week, the association estimated the sector would be valued at €40.3bn by 2018. Growth will be driven by increased demand for packaging equipment out of Asia, Africa, Oceania and Latin America, according to the report.

Food remains the main client sector for packing equipment suppliers, accounting for 31.8 per cent of the industry’s global business.

Italian machinery exports are expected to outperform the world average with higher than average growth in Europe (up 3.2 per cent), North America (up 4.6 per cent), Africa and Oceania (up a collective 7.7 per cent) over the next three years. In particular, Italian exports will account for the biggest growth percentages in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Peru, Indonesia, Malaysia, Algeria, Turkey and Iran.

In the current year, Italian packaging machinery manufacturers are reporting a performance in line with last year’s results, when the sector achieved a record turnover of €6.3bn.