"Fine-tuning the economy is like surgery: there's always a risk involved. Because interest rates have such a long lag time, we never know if the hikes have been too much, not enough or just right," Paparozzi describes.
The belief that paper prices are beginning to stabilize does not appear to be a popular one, according to Kelty. "I don't think that prices are going to go up. Some of my colleagues would disagree with me, though," she notes.
While Kelty isn't predicting a rise in paper costs, Roy Grossman, of Clifton, NJ-based Sandy Alexander, isn't ready to wager on what's going to occur in the paper market in the next six months.
"Right now, prices are very volatile. I think it really depends on whether or not the economy softens," Grossman says.
"The economy does seem to be slowing, and that impacts the paper market greatly. The economic peaks and valleys could be a real issue for us in the future. It all depends on whether we see a major softening in the economy," he explains.
Paparozzi believes that printers will see a smooth landing, but he does warn that printers need to pay close attention to the strength of the overall economy. "Printers will really need to tune into what the economy is doing. For the first time in five years, we have to watch the economy closely. In my opinion, that dominates every other consideration. Printers should recognize that the economy is going to slow. We'd all do well to listen and prepare for it—and that's really the issue."