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NAPL: Business Strengthens For Commercial Printers

Press release from the issuing company

PARAMUS, N.J., October 8, 2003 –Business picked up in September for 52.6% of the NAPL Printing Business Panel, the highest reading of the year and nearly triple the 18.4 for whom business slowed. The economic analysis comes from NAPL’s Printing Economic Research Center (PERC), which produces research and publications. The upturn in business for commercial printers that started last summer will strengthen with the economy over the next 12 months, according to Andrew Paparozzi, NAPL’s vice president and chief economist. He notes, however, that it’s yet to be seen when business will gain enough strength to restore the industry’s weakened pricing power and profits. Among the NAPL indicators pointing to an upturn: • For the second consecutive month, more Panel members report work-on-hand is increasing (23.95) than report it is decreasing (19.8%). That’s a significant difference from last spring, when reports of declining work-on-hand exceeded reports of rising work-on-hand by wide margins. • Nearly 44.0% of NAPL’s survey group expect business to improve during the next six months, while just 7.7% expect business declines. • The NAPL Printing Business Index? (PBI?), the Association’s broadest measure of print activity, rose to 55.3 in September. The PBI has now been above 50.0—the point at which more printers report activity is picking up than report activity is slowing down—for three consecutive months. “These positive indicators should be tempered with a look at what’s not happening yet in our industry—namely, the restoration of pricing power and profitability,” said Paparozzi. “Last month, 47.2% of our Panel reported that prices fell, while just 7.6% reported a rise in prices. No pricing power means no revenue growth, so sales continued to fall in August.”