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Oil and mineral hikes force up ink prices

Flint Group says its ink prices will be rising as raw materials used in the complex process of manufacturing have shot up.

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Flint Group: the company creates ink for the industry across the globe but fears prices will rise

There are multiple reasons stated for the increases, ranging from a fire at the Huntsman plant that has temporarily ended the production of titanium dioxide, to rising oil prices.

The firm’s Jan Paul van der Velde says, with the possibility of trade barriers going up around the world and increasing currency fluctuations, prices are set to rise further later this year. Crude oil has risen in price and most elements needed for ink production had also increased in price, or there were shortages.

He says: “In addition, the stronger enforcement of the existing environmental rules in China, specifically relative to air pollution, have resulted in production limitations or even full shutdowns of various industrial parks. This has caused major supply shortages for base raw materials required to make ink raw materials.

“Costs of many solvents have also increased, which affects the cost of manufacturing many pressroom chemicals and solvent-based inks. Hydrocarbon costs increased by 25 percent, and ethyl acetate (Etac) costs started to increase earlier this year by double digits. Glycols, glycol esters, and isopropanol are on allocation, we have seen cost increases in the range of four percent, and we expect further cost increases in the future.”

Costs of many solvents have also increased, which affects the cost of manufacturing many pressroom chemicals and solvent-based inks

At the moment Flint Group’s inks will see price increases of around 5 percent for all its packaging, narrow web, and sheet-fed inks and varnishes.

With the composition of litho printing inks requiring a complex chemistry of oils, pigments, and resins, which are all set for price hikes, it seems that margins are set for increased pressure in the UK print industry. It will be a question as always as to whether printers can pass the cost increases onto their customers, with Flint saying carbon black is set to rise 10 percent, hydrocarbon resins up by 5 percent, and mineral oils already surging in price by 20 percent since last year.

Water-based ink prices are also set for a hike as styrene and acylic acid prices shoot up, while the key ingredient of white ink, titanic dioxide, is also set for a jump. Increased industrial legislation in China—although much needed to protect workers and the environment—has also seen prices for such ingredients such as photoinitiators, monomers,, and ligomers rise. And to add even more problems, the company says that the collapse of the shipping firm Hanjin has affected supply. It is a sorry tale, but Jan Paul van der Velde is still positive.

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