At the start of a new year there is always a sense of optimism for the future. The paint and coatings industry has had some rocky years, but things appear to be improving.
Throughout 2013 both paint manufacturers and their suppliers were reporting improvements in their business. The general feeling is that this upswing is going to continue into 2014.
In the article “Interior Architectural Interior Coatings” (pg. 28) paint manufacturers I interviewed reported positive growth in 2013 due to an improved housing market and increased consumer confidence. In the “Pigments Report” (pg. 36) pigment suppliers also expressed optimism. Frank Lavieri of Lansco Colors said, “We saw the pigment market grow in 2013 especially in the last third of the year and particularly in industries serving construction and housing. Since 2009 we have seen the consumption of pigment increase steadily and at double-digit rates at times. We expect 2014 to be another strong year.” This sentiment was echoed in the “Additives Market Report” (pg. 33). “The outlook for 2014 remains optimistic, with eyes continuing to follow the housing market. Particularly as interest rates begin to rise and employment numbers evolve,” said Amber Goodyear of Coatex Inc.
This optimism has a concrete basis as financial experts are also reporting that they expect things to improve in 2014. Prudential market experts recently reported that they expect significant growth in the financial markets in 2014 as the U.S. and global economies continue to recover amid central bank actions, low inflation and an improved business climate. They outlined their views at Prudential Financial, Inc.’s 2014 Global Economic and Retirement Outlook briefing.
In a statement released at the briefing Ed Keon, managing director of Quantitative Management Associates, said the more global markets and economies improve, the more they begin to resemble their pre-2008 levels. He expects significant growth in 2014 driven in part by technological innovations and a possible positive “shock” in energy production in the U.S. and around the world. He expects the Federal Reserve to remain on the sidelines for the next couple of years, keeping interest rates low, even as it begins to taper its bond-buying program.
“The new normal is beginning to look like the old normal. We’ve seen significant growth in 2013 and we’re now experiencing a robust economy that we used to think of as normal,” Keon said.
Although it is much too early to tell for sure, things certainly do seem to be looking up in 2014!