2016 was a successful year, so that plastic packaging manufacturers are starting the New Year with confidence. This was the result of a survey conducted among member companies of the German Association for Plastic Packaging and Films (IK) under the IK Economic Trend Barometer. IK is the biggest association in the European plastics sector, and the vast majority of its 300 members – 70 per cent – described the general economic situation as good, while 30 per cent saw it as satisfactory. According to IK, the industry is generating over EUR 14 billion per year, while producing 4 million tonnes of plastic p.a. and employing a workforce of 90,000.
Raw materials are getting more expensive
Expectations on the first quarter of the new year are equally positive. Nevertheless, more than half of all respondents are expecting the cost of raw material to rise over the next few weeks. The association believes that this will probably also lead to higher prices for packaging. Another issue that will dominate the industry in 2017 is sustainability. 80 per cent of companies said they would make further investments in energy efficiency this year, so that they can, among other things, improve their climate balances.
Nevertheless, it will be a challenge to compensate for the ongoing increase in energy charges. In particular, Germany’s renewable energy levy – a charge whereby energy consumers help to fund the energy turnaround – has now reached a record 6.88 eurocents per kWh, thus putting many enterprises under pressure.
IK’s Managing Director Ulf Kelterborn has therefore called for further measures to be taken by the German central government: “The current subsidy model, characteristic of a planned economy, must finally be replaced by a free market model.” IK also wants to demand such measures in the build-up to this year’s general elections.