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Australian printing industry downturn enters its second year

Thursday, 21 February 2002
By Print 21 Online Article

Falls were noted in most of the key indicators including business confidence, orders, production, sales, net profits, selling prices, number of outstanding debtors, employment and overtime levels and production costs

No improvement is expected in the present March quarter, which is traditionally the slowest time of the graphic arts year, according to Hagop Tchamkertenian, Printing Industries Manager of Industry and Commercial Policy.

Some 159 companies employing a workforce of more than 12,000 people participated in the December 2001 quarter survey.

Some positive trends emerging from the survey include:

  • A reported easing of the labour market
  • Increased availability of finance and
  • Increased investment in capital expenditure.

The survey results confirm that capacity utilisation continues to be low with only 68 per cent of respondents indicating that they are operating at capacity utilisation levels of 70 per cent or more, and almost 81 per cent of the respondents indicating that lack of orders remains the primary barrier to increasing production levels.

“Given that traditionally the March quarter is a quite quarter for the industry, expectations are not very optimistic,” said Mr Tchamkertenian.

According to the respondents the March 2002 quarter should show:

  • Modest reductions in orders, production, sales and net profits
  • Small reductions in selling prices
  • Increased availability of finance
  • A further easing of the labour market
  • Further falls in employment and overtime levels
  • Further increases across the production cost categories
  • Declining stock levels and
  • Rising number of outstanding debtors.

Despite this respondents are forecasting over the next six months to August 2002

  • Improvement in business conditions
  • Increased investment in machinery and equipment and
  • Declining investment on buildings.

Any one interested in obtaining a copy of the full survey report can contact Printing Industries- on Ph: (02) 9248 7300 or e-mail:

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