Paper Outlook for Q2 — Prices Holding Through Spring
"Given the competitiveness of the printing industry and the degree of pressure on profitability, even seemingly modest increases in key operating costs like paper can be a problem in the industry," explains Andrew Paparozzi, chief economist for the NAPL (National Association of Printers and Lithographers.)
"[An increase in paper pricing] is something the industry needs to be aware of—it's not a case where you can easily pass increases on to clients," notes Paparozzi. "You pass it on or offset it by productivity gains, or it comes right out of the bottom line."
According to MSPGA data (see above chart), increases are being passed on to customers—who are having to reach a bit deeper into their pockets thanks to the increases.
One thing seems nearly certain—printers and publishers can expect more than fireworks come July. "The best indications suggest that there won't be another increase until July—but there will be an increase in July. Publishers ought to budget another 10 percent on top of the July increase," Janis advises.
—Carolyn R. Bak
Database Tracks Inventory Levels
Looking to be in the know regarding paper inventory levels across the United States? The new Paper Inventory Database program from the Graphic Communications Association (GCA) provides hard data on roll paper inventory trends, thus enabling magazine and catalog publishers, printing companies and paper mills to make intelligent buying and production decisions based on up-to-date, industry-wide inventory levels.
GCA's Paper Inventory Database offers monthly reports on data sent electronically from some 60 printing plants across the United States. The data represent up-to-the-minute inventory levels at the participating printers for five categories of publication grade paper: coated groundwood, uncoated groundwood, coated free sheet, uncoated free sheet, and all others.
GCA then tabulates the data and provides a monthly report to participating companies and subscribers with the total inventories for these categories, as well as trends for each category over time.