The British Plastics Federation’s (BPF) latest Business Conditions Survey, which was conducted in June and July 2017 by 106 companies, indicates increased optimism within the plastics industry. The survey, which is conducted twice per year, set a new record, with 80 per cent of respondents predicting an increase in sales turnover over the next 12 months, with only 5 per cent predicted a decrease.
The survey was released and presented at a BPF Council meeting, which took place at the Bank of England. It showed that the number of companies predicting an increase in export sales also remained high at 62 per cent — echoing the sentiment of the previous survey undertaken in January. 7 per cent of companies predicted export sales would decrease, compared to just 1 per cent in January.
Almost a third expected profitability to increase, a quarter expected it to decrease and 44 per cent expected no change. Almost all companies expecting profitability to remain the same or fall mentioned that the weak pound was having a detrimental effect on the cost of raw material.
35 per cent of companies aim to increase staffing levels over the next twelve months, although 57 per cent report on-going difficulties recruiting. Engineers are the hardest staff to recruit, followed by shop floor staff and technical managers.
BPF membership services director Stephen Hunt said: “The survey we undertook in January showed that the initial pessimism arising from Brexit had dissipated — and this survey continues this positive trend. With 80 per cent of companies expecting sales turnover to increase, a new record has been set, suggesting growing optimism amongst the UK plastics industry despite Brexit negotiations revealing little so far about our future relationship with current trading partners.”