European plastics industry optimistic for 2019

Cost of materials, selling prices and sales volumes are the greatest concerns for the European plastics industry in 2019, far outweighing the negative images of plastics that have been portrayed by the media, according to a reader survey conducted by Plastics Information Europe (PIE).

PIE surveyed 240 participants from 36 countries from the plastics industry about business performance and expectations, investments, employment and concerns.

About three quarters of respondents from France and German-speaking Europe stated that business in 2018 was better than the previous year, while more than half expect 2019 to be even better still. Companies in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Nordic regions are especially optimistic.

While the cost of materials was the number one concern for the second successive year, companies in CEE were more worried about labour and salary costs, while French companies were most wary of raw material availability.

Regarding logistics issues, two thirds of those surveyed expect negative impacts on business performance in 2019. About three quarters of plastics producers and companies involved in raw materials distribution, compounding or trading as well as plastics products trade forecast logistics issues to negatively impact business.

About one third of survey participants rated the EU regulations on plastics as having no impact, 28 per cent saw a somewhat negative impact and 17 per cent a somewhat positive impact.

As fewer than 30 per cent cited the negative image of plastics as a concern, it suggests that the plastics industry is working hard on innovation and sustainability targets.