Despite rising material costs, the German plastic packaging industry is looking ahead with confidence for 2016, according to a new survey from plastics trade group, Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen (IK; Bad Homburg, Germany). The economic forecast for the first quarter of 2016 shows that 70% of member companies expect a positive outlook. A year ago at this time, this was not the case where the figure was at a dismal 37%.
According to the plastics trade group, the key factor behind this positive outlook is the overall robust economic situation in Germany, based on record levels of employment and the resulting strong domestic demand. The continuing low price of oil in particular boosts the purchasing power of consumers in Germany and important import countries.
In addition, the plastic packaging industry also sees significant opportunities this year for innovative packaging solutions in a range of different markets. One example is the food sector, where protection of goods against spoilage or damage will also take ever higher priority in other product segments. As a result of its wide range of protective properties, plastic packaging delivers optimum solutions in such areas.
Almost one third of the companies surveyed expect an rise in sales prices in the first quarter because of the highly volatile raw material prices. The majority of IK members therefore predict there will be a spike in raw material costs in the first quarter of 2016. Electricity costs in Germany, still abundantly high compared with other countries, will force many packaging manufacturers to make price adjustments.
On another note, at the start of this year, the IK forecast sees a rather unsatisfactory trend in terms of profits, despite positive turnover expectations.