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July Printer Confidence Index: Demand Starts Downward Trend

Press release from the issuing company

---- Combined with the Print Buyer Pulse Index, printers and print buyers both have a cautious sentiment and outlook according to data collected in July. July 29, 2002 - WhatTheyThink.com and CAP Ventures have released the results of the Printer Confidence Index. The data is compiled each month from printers throughout the United States. The index provides industry executives with real-time analysis of PRINT DEMAND and CAPITAL SPENDING expectations. In July, for the first time since January 2002, more than half of the print providers (52.8%) indicated their local market conditions are starting or continuing to decline. The research suggests that the steady improvement throughout the spring in overall market sentiment has given way to negative conditions for the summer. Note there has been a steady increase in negative market sentiment since April when only 35.2% of print providers cited declining market conditions. There are a few bright spots in the data for this month including slight improvements in industrial production and capacity utilization rates as reported by the US Federal Reserve. Both of these figures remain at historically low levels, but the data suggests the industry may have bottomed out. Some of the improvement in capacity utilization is undoubtedly due to the industry reducing capacity (e.g. retiring of production devices, consolidation). However, the improvement in the industrial production rate also suggests that some of the capacity utilization rate is due to increase demand. The overall printing industry non-seasonally adjusted value of shipments through May 2002 reached $38.3 billion. This amount is 6.6% behind the year to date figures from May 2001. Readers should note that through April 2002 the industry was 7.1% behind the year to date figure from April 2001. The implication is that May 2002 value of shipments were better than May 2001 figures. It is difficult to predict which way the market will turn, but as Alan Greenspan recently stated in his testimony to Congress "the U.S. economy has confronted very significant challenges over the past year or so.... The effects of the recent difficulties will linger for a bit longer but, as they wear off, and absent significant further adverse shocks, the U.S. economy is poised to resume a pattern of sustainable growth." --------- Premium Access members can view the charts, graphs, demographics and complete comparisons with previous months. The Index tracks print demand last month, this month and the coming six months. The Index also examines past, present and future spending plans on capital equipment like: - Prepress - Offset & Conventional Presses - Color Copiers & Printers - High Speed Digital Color - High Speed Digital B&W - Wide Format Printers - Bindery Equipment - Print Management Software The data can be accessed by Premium Access members at www.whattheythink.com