In recent years, ink manufacturers have done all they could to keep prices low as their raw material costs skyrocketed. However, the end result was dangerously low margins. Reluctantly, ink companies began raising their prices as best they could.
There are indications that these price increases are finally taking hold. According to a report by the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers (NAPIM), the numbers for the first six months of 2006 compared to the same period in 2005 indicate that prices are rising.
On the packaging ink side, NAPIM reports that volume increased 1.1 percent and sales rose 5.6 percent, with solvent-based flexo and gravure understandably rising faster due to higher costs. On the publication and commercial side, overall volume declined 2.6 percent, while sales rose 3.2 percent.
There are areas of concern: in particular, water-based flexo remains weak, and commercial sheetfed showed no price increase. Of even more concern is the fundamental question of whether these increases are even covering the higher raw material prices.
In our reports on packaging inks, beginning on page 28, and publication inks, starting on page 38, we look closer at these numbers as well as recent trends and technological advances in each segment.
I am pleased to note that we continue to further upgrade our industry-leading website, www.inkworldmagazine.com. This month, our new and improved Online Buyers’ Guide is up and running, offering comprehensive company and product information at the touch of a keystroke.
For suppliers, our Online Buyers’ Guide is ideal as it can be updated throughout the year, which provides ink manufacturers with the most up-to-date information they need to best develop the products their customers need.
On a personal note, I am honored to welcome Norm Harbin, Flint Group’s vice president of business and technical development for news ink, to our Editorial Advisory Board. A 29-year veteran of the ink industry, Mr. Harbin is an active leader in the news ink industry, and for his efforts, received NAPIM’s prestigious Printing Ink Pioneer Award in 2004. Ink World relies heavily on our Editorial Advisory Board for advice, and with Mr. Harbin’s expertise, we will continue to provide our readers with the most comprehensive information on the ink industry in these changing times.
Ink World Editor