Admittedly, I tend to be on optimist. Despite the yahoos that run our government (both parties), the US is still the greatest country in the world with the greatest environment for sustainable economic growth. Our rule of law, well-established banking system, and spirit of innovation will propel us forward.
While we certainly aren’t in a 5-7% GDP growth mode, I think 2013 will certainly outpace the last few years in terms of GDP growth. As I wrote earlier this year, I think the pressure sensitive industry will grow slightly faster than GDP. Here’s why:
1. Stable raw material prices. Unless the world economy picks up, we won’t be fighting an inflation battle.
2. Have you looked at buying new equipment? Lead times are long. Yes, some of the equipment is going overseas; there’s no doubt about that. But I’ve talked to a lot of equipment folks lately and they will tell you a lot is being placed in the US.
3. Capacity rationalization. In my opinion, several recent acquisitions are about synergies, which translates to optimizing plant and people usage. In other words, it’s a cost savings game. Costs are saved by getting rid of equipment. A lot of that equipment goes overseas.
4. General observations. I’ve spent a lot of time with suppliers, customers, and even a few competitors lately. Everyone has a little more spring in his step and is a little more positive than this time last year. Remember, time heals all wounds. 2008 and 2009 are well into the rear view mirror right now. The animal spirits are getting riled up!