Opportunities and challenges in 2017
Thursday, 5 January 2017 | Posted by: Sonja Schulte, European Coatings Journal
One of the most frequently asked questions at the start of a new year has to be: "What resolutions have you made for the new year?” The answers often revolve around sport, diet or less stress.European Coatings Journal asked 20 European coatings manufacturers where they see the greatest opportunities or challenges in 2017. As the previous years, 2017 is once again labeled as a year of uncertainity. Raw material prices and changes to legislation are an issue for many in 2017, but other factors may also pose a challenge to coating and paint manufacturers.
The continuing political and economic difficulties in Europe and other parts of the world remain a major uncertainty for coating manufacturers. The changing political landscape is associated with uncertainty for the economy. To name just a few examples: 2017 will see new elections in Germany and France, and Donald Trump moving into the White House, while the impact of Brexit is still unclear. Similarly, the political situation in the EU countries of Italy, Portugal and Greece poses significant risks. According to Thomas M. Adam, CEO of the Berger Group, Germany: "We’re seeing a definite politically based uncertainty in global markets and need to react flexibly to all scenarios. The raw material markets are volatile and could cause us problems”.
Read all 20 statements in the upcomming issue of European Coatings Journal
Challenges in 2017: Regulations, laws and raw material prices
Mr Adam is not alone in his estimation of raw material prices. Most manufacturers are paying close attention to the development in these costs. It is assumed that the costs will rise again. "The price increases for some raw materials, such as titanium dioxide, will certainly need to be passed on in part to the market to continue being considered a competent partner,” said André Brunotte, Managing Director of Teknos Germany. Rising crude oil prices are also being observed warily.
Laws and regulations are being viewed with great concern. It’s not just the implementation of these, which is especially difficult for small and medium-sized companies to manage, it is also the latest changes, which generally relate to tighter requirements.
Bye the way, European Coatings Journal would kindly like to ask you to tell us how important regulations are for you. We would appreciate it very much if you could take 2 minutes for a survey.
Opportunities in 2017: export, products and innovation
Many of those surveyed view their business opportunities to be in export as well as entering new markets in general. Asia is an attractive market for many though Russia, despite its uncertainties, also offers good opportunities for some. This is confirmed by the latest foreign trade statistics, which show a slight rise in exports in the first three quarters of 2016. Growth in exports to Asia was particularly strong – especially to China and Japan. The increased exports to China were generated by sales of interior and exterior aqueous emulsion paints in addition to solvent-based alkyd, epoxy and polyurethane coatings.
Naturally, all of the surveyed manufacturers depend on the quality of their products and are constantly developing both new and improved products that are tailored to the market. Environmentally friendly systems with low VOC content feature highly. Coating manufacturers are supported here by their suppliers, who will once again be presenting the latest raw material developments in April at the European Coatings Show in Nuremberg.
I look forward to meeting you there!