Market Watch

PIA8200;Foresees Rebound, Optimism in Print Sales


PIA Foresees Rebound, Optimism in Print Sales

According to Printing Industries of America (PIA), which represents more than 13,000 companies in the manufacturing sector, printers are beginning to experience a definite rebound for print sales and are increasingly optimistic about the economy.

Printers responding to PIA’s Monthly Print Market Survey estimated that their March sales would increase an average of 2.6 percent from February. These projections were based on customer inquiries and purchase orders, and it was the biggest month-to-month gain in several months.

“There is also guarded optimism for printing sales over the next 12 months,” Dr. Ron Davis, the PIA’s chief economist, said.

“Survey respondents project an average sales increase of 3.9 percent during the next 12 months. About three-fourths are expecting sales gains and 15 percent project declines.”

Dr. Davis estimated that total first quarter print sales will be off about 1 percent from last year’s first quarter. “Our forecast projects that second quarter sales will be about even with last year’s second quarter and we will see growth of 2 percent in the third quarter and 3 percent in the fourth.”

During the next 12 months, total print sales are projected to increase approximately 2 percent to 3 percent – just a little less than printers’ current expectations. At this rate of growth, approximately $165 billion in print sales should be generated in the next 12 months through the first quarter of 2003.
“Dispersant Chemicals and Polymers IV” Study Completed

In 2001, U.S. manufacturers spent an estimated $864.6 million for 1.5billion pounds of dispersant and antiscalant chemicals and polymers in order to improve the performance and competitiveness of their products.

This is one of the conclusions in “Dispersant Chemicals and Polymers IV,” a marketing-technical multi-client study recently completed by Hochberg Company, Inc., a Chester, NJ-based consultant.

The study also found that manufacturers are continuing to shift away from traditional dispersant chemicals to acrylate homopolymers, copolymers and terpolymers, which lend unique dispersant properties to their specific technologies. In addition, continuing shifts to water-based systems from solvent-based systems are creating market opportunities for new dispersants and chemicals.
Additional growth for dispersants is occurring in such applications as printing inks, paper manufacturing, and waste paper deinking.

The Hochberg study concluded that the most important dispersants from a market value viewpoint are the acrylate polymers and terpolymers, naphthalene sulfonate condensate, hydrocarbons such as C9 and DCPD, phosphates, modified rosin esters, ethoxylated nonionics, rosin resinates and dimer-based polyamides.

For more information, contact Hochberg and Company at (908) 879-7170.

Paper Prices Expected To Remain Soft in 2002

One area of concern for printers is paper prices. However, PIA anticipates that paper prices will continue to be soft.

“Most indicators point to continued stability or softness – at least for the short run,” Dr. Davis said,. “Printers’ paper costs were down about 1 percent for 2001. As of January, printing and writing paper prices were down 1.8 percent from January 2001, based on government data.”

U.S. paper production declined 5.8 percent in 2001 after falling 2.5 percent in 2000. Overall, printing and writing paper prices declined in 2001. Overcapacity and recent mergers have been notable in the paper industry.

“The wave of paper company mergers and acquisitions over the last few years is an attempt by paper companies to reduce overcapacity in the paper industry,” Dr. Davis said. “Although there has been some mill restructuring, there is sill plenty of worldwide capacity coupled with a generally soft worldwide demand.”

Based on the current global paper supply demand, Dr. Davis expects stable paper prices through the remainder of the year.

“However, paper markets may start to tighten in 2003 as economies in other parts of the world recover,” Dr. Davis cautioned. “We may see an alignment of growing economies throughout the world in 2003, which may result in rising paper prices.”