Some Signs Lead to Cautious Optimism as 2004 Begins

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 10.28.09

For the past few years, there has been little reason to cheer the results for the printing ink industry. As has been the case with the ink industry’s customers and its suppliers, the last few years have been economically difficult for most companies, to say the least.

To make matters even more frustrating, many companies have experienced good months, followed by slower sales. There have been some false starts for the economy, and hopes have been raised, only to have the optimism dashed as the economy slowed down again.

However, there are reasons for hope again, and this time there does seem to be potential for a recovery. In the U.S., the economy has been strengthening, and printing sales are on the rise. That, of course, is good news for the ink industry.

There also seems to be hope among key suppliers. As we report in “The Milling Report,” beginning on page 24, and “Vehicles and Varnishes,” which starts on page 20, suppliers believe that sales seem to be moving ahead. In the milling industry, there appears to have been some initial movement toward increased capital expenditures in the last few months. That is encouraging news indeed.

Meanwhile, there is also good news to be found in “The Flexo Report,” which begins on page 15. The packaging ink market has remained fairly flat despite the economy, and flexo inks have done well. Packaging companies are developing a wide range of new products, much of which is in the flexible packaging segment, and ink companies are working on an array of new inks to meet those needs. The potential for flexo in the packaging market is fairly strong.

Is it too early to say that the economy is running smoothly again? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. We have seen some false starts in recent years, but perhaps the economic future will indeed be brighter in the coming months.
David Savastano
Ink World Editor