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November 2021

UK printing industry moves closer to pre-Covid levels as recovery gathers strength in Q3

UK printing industry moves closer to pre-Covid levels as recovery gathers strength in Q3

Growth to continue in Q4 amidst mounting supply constraints and cost pressures.

The UK printing and printed packaging industry continues to rebound - a majority of companies improved their performance in Q3, and many expect to see further improvements in Q4. The Covid-19 outbreak hit at the end of Q1, Q2 bore the brunt of the impact and whilst Q3 exhibited a recovery, of sorts, Q4 experienced a halt on that recovery path and Q1 saw some moderate improvements as an equilibrium was achieved between the ups and the downs. It has taken until Q2 this year for significant improvements in workloads to come through, now the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are being lifted and more of the economy is opening-up. As expected Q3 has experienced continued growth and increased activity levels; this trend is forecast to continue in Q4 - despite challenges in the supply chain and significant input price inflation.

The latest Printing Outlook survey reveals that 59% of printers managed to increase their output levels in the third quarter of 2021. A further 33% were able to hold output steady, whilst the remaining 8% suffered a decline in output. The resulting balance (the difference between the ups and the downs) was +51, a slight improvement from +45 in Q2, and well above the Q3 forecast (+37). The largest reported output balance for 14 years shows that the printing and printed packaging industry is recovering following a lengthy spell of curtailed production.

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