This semi-annual brief on wide-format inkjet inks demand also discusses external developments pertinent to an assessment of near-term printing prospects.
Wide-Format Inkjet Ink Print Demand
International Print Demand
- Central banks’ monetary tightening has yet to induce a material slowdown in global print demand.
- Global print demand expanded at a healthy clip in H1 2023, boosted in part by the fading of negative supply constraints.
- Growth has been fairly diverse across countries alongside the widening schism between goods and services print spending.
- Overall, global print demand is poised to slow in H2 2023 and H1 2024, driven by the cumulative effects of monetary policy tightening on consumer as well as business spending.
- Thereafter, global print demand is set to gradually pick up in H2 2024, as monetary policy eases.
- At this juncture, two main non-remote risks cloud the global print demand outlook.
- First, a policy misstep in advanced economies (AEs) such as overtightening, could trigger liquidity stresses and instability in AE money markets, and/or emerging market debt stresses, with negative spillovers to Asia.
- Second, a strong El Niño event could put upward pressure on a range of wide-format inkjet ink raw materials prices in addition to pigments and eco-solvents, triggering another round of ink cost and price acceleration.
Singapore Print Demand
- The Singapore print demand has slowed discernibly since late 2022. However, the sectoral growth outturns have varied significantly, with demand broadly on a three-speed trajectory.
- The external-facing industries have been in the doldrums since late last year, but their weakness has yet to spill over to the domestic printing sectors, which continued to record above-trend growth in Q2 2023.
- Meanwhile, printing in the travel-related industries have continued to reap dividends from the reopening of borders across the external economies.
- For the rest of 2023, there is likely to be some convergence in growth rates among the sectors, with modest recovery in the external-facing sectors and moderation in domestic-oriented and travel-related activity.
- However, there remains downside risks to growth. The greatest uncertainty lies in the external-facing sectors, which could languish for longer.
- The recovery in the external-facing sectors is contingent on final demand conditions towards the year end which remains uncertain.
- Overall, for the year as a whole, Singapore’s print growth is projected to slow from 3.6% in 2022 to 0.5–1.5% in 2023.
- In April 2023, SAMINK maintained the prevailing rate of pricing policy band, with no change to its width and the level at which it was centred.
- Five successive pricing policy tightening moves since October 2021 have dampened imported inflation and tempered the momentum of price increases.
- With core inflation forecast to ease materially by end-2023 and risks to growth intensifying, we assessed that prevailing pricing policy band was sufficiently tight and appropriate for securing medium-term price stability.
Sam Leong MSc MBA
Director, SAMINK, Inkjet Systems Pte Ltd.