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Q1 2016 edition of Printing Outlook

    • A better-than-expected seasonal boost in Q4 meant that both output and orders surpassed their Q4 forecasts – expectations for Q1 also remain positive.
    • Confidence in the general state of trade in the printing industry bounced back in Q4, after receiving a dent in Q3.
    • Competitors pricing below cost continues to be the most voiced business concern – by far; access to skilled labour is a mounting worry.
    • Capacity utilisation in January was lower than in October; though many were in the 80-89% range.
    • Recruitment remained positive in Q4.
    • There was no recovery in price levels during Q4.
    • The majority of respondents in Q4 have continued to report stable input costs; as in each of the previous five quarters, the main cost pressure in Q4 was from labour. Respondents predict that there will be more downward than upward pressure on paper, energy and ink costs in Q1.
    • The excursion for margins into positive territory proved to be short-lived once more as Q4 saw a return to decreasing margins.
    • Export orders, and prices, experienced a significant downturn in Q4; more pressure expected in Q1.
    • Printing companies have strong capital investment intentions for 2016.
    • Access to finance has generally improved throughout 2015, however there are some concerns over the availability of credit lines.
    • One-quarter of respondents conducted pay reviews in Q4; awarding increases averaging 2.2%.
    • UK demand for printing papers and boards in Q1-3 2015 was down 4.4% in comparison to Q1-3 2014.

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