More Evidence of Improvement, But There are Warning Signs Ahead

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 07.19.10

There appears to be more evidence of good news in terms of sales for the ink industry. As was the case in our recent North American Top 20 Report, the executives we interviewed for the Top International Ink Companies report, which begins on page 28, said that their sales improved throughout the past fiscal year.

This sentiment can also be found in Kerry Pianoforte’s feature on The Market for Metallics, which starts on page 20; my report on The Chinese Ink Market, which begins on page 22; and my article on The Inkjet Ink Report, which begins on page 26. In each of these articles, executives say that they are seeing their sales picking up, although it is nowhere near the level of even a few years ago.

Ofcourse, the aforementioned topics represent some of the strongest areas of growth for the ink industry. Metallics have long been a key area for ink and pigment suppliers. China was the fastest-growing region for printing prior to the recession, and came out of the economic downturn faster than practically every other nation. Digital inks have continued to grow market share as inkjet makes inroads into conventional printing’s strongholds.

In addition to China, Latin America’s ink industry is also showing signs of growth. In one of this month’s Online Exclusives, I interviewed Latin American ink industry executives, who noted that while the region did suffer from the recession, there are clear signs of recovery. The article, The Latin American Ink Market, can be found online on our website, www.inkworldmagazine.com.

But don’t be lulled into thinking that all is well in the ink industry. In particular, there is real concern that raw material shortages will lead to short supply and more price increases. In Vehicles and Varnishes, which begins on page 74, industry leaders detail the problems they are facing in terms of procuring essential raw materials such as rosin, and global ink industry executives also are worried about raw materials prices and supply. There is also understandable concern over the possibility of another dip in the economy.

The reality is that no one knows for sure whether the global economy is indeed safely on the road to recovery. In truth, there remains much uncertainty, and that is likely to continue for a while yet. We can only hope that the economy continues to show some improvement in the coming months and years.

David Savastano
Ink World Editor