UK printing and packaging
industry continued to rebound. Despite the significant impact of supply chain
challenges and increased costs, most companies' performance improved in the
third quarter, and many companies expect further improvement in the fourth
The latest printing outlook published by BPIF is a quarterly industry health research report. The report found that after the outbreak of the COVID-19 in the first quarter of 2020, with the lifting of the blockade and the further opening of the economy, the workload was not significantly improved until the second quarter of this year.
As expected, the third quarter experienced sustained growth and improved activity levels. Although the supply chain faced challenges and input prices rose sharply, this trend is expected to continue in the fourth quarter.
The survey found that 59% of printers managed to increase production in the third quarter of 2021. Another 33% of printers were able to maintain a stable output, while the output of the remaining 8% of printers decreased.
Kyle Jardine, an economist at BPIF, said, "home ownership has ended, employees in printing companies have also come to work, the economy has begun to recover, and more jobs are being produced and approved."
Many printers are positive about the output growth at the end of the year, especially with the help of marketing activities around Halloween and Christmas, and the strong activity level is expected to continue into the fourth quarter.
It is expected that 48% of the companies' output growth will increase, 42% of the companies predict that they will be able to maintain a stable output level in the fourth quarter, and only 10% of the people say they expect their output level to decline.
85% of the respondents believed that the cost of printing materials was the business issue that printing companies were most concerned about for the second consecutive quarter, 61% of the companies listed access to skilled labor as the second major concern, and 55% of the companies listed energy costs as the third major concern. In dealing with the economic impact of covid-19, the ranking fell a lot, and only 14% of companies chose it.
The shortage of raw material supply is now the most challenging problem affecting the company's ability to recover from the covid-19 impact. "Insufficient demand" was previously the highest operational challenge selected in the first quarter, when 60% of respondents chose this. However, this figure fell to 44% in the second quarter and 23% in the third quarter. Now it is only the fifth challenge.
68% of the respondents believed that concerns about the shortage of imported inputs and raw material supply had increased, becoming the most selective challenge, slightly higher than the supply of domestic inputs. 41% of the respondents believed that "other cost pressures" ranked third.
Enterprises in the whole industry have experienced unprecedented significant cost growth in all major cost areas of their business, and the upward pressure is expected to increase in the fourth quarter.
BPIF said that in the third quarter, the increase in the cost of paper and paperboard continued to bring the greatest inflationary pressure, but at present, cost inflation in various fields is still exceptionally strong.
Jardine said: "The industry has never been very good at transferring cost increases, but in the current environment, we found that customers are aware of the reasons for cost increases. That is why this time, companies seem to be able to transfer more costs than before. But there is only so much you can do. If costs continue to rise, it will become more difficult to return to customers to continue to increase costs. Obviously, at some time, people are worried that the level of work will improve Therefore, it is hindered. "
The survey also found that after the end of the home leave plan, the vast majority (91%) of companies are not expected to lay off staff before the end of December.
100% of enterprises said that they expected at least 50% of employees currently working from home to return to the office by the end of December, at least to a certain extent. Moreover, the industrial capacity utilization rate continued to improve strongly, and the capacity utilization rate in October was higher than that in July.
Finally, the number of printing and packaging companies experiencing "serious" financial difficulties declined in the third quarter. Those enterprises that have experienced "major" financial difficulties will also fall back to a more "normal" level in the third quarter.
The third quarter printing Outlook Survey was conducted from October 1 to 18, 2021, and received responses from 114 companies.
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