Fakuma 2023 opens today in a very different European economy than its last session, in 2021.
Two years ago, companies were roaring back after pandemic shutdowns. Prices were going up, but inflation was just a whisper of a warning at that time. Russian troops mostly remained on their side of the Ukrainian border.
Now inflation is up, the workforce is under stress and promises of a more sustainable plastics future in Europe are coming up against demands to cut costs.
"The eurozone economy feels like it is teetering," Bill Wood, Plastics News' economics editor, writes in a column appearing in the first show daily of Fakuma 2023. "It is too early to say the entire economy is in a recession, but certain sectors are either already in contraction or very near to being in contraction."
That doesn't mean the entire economy — and the plastics industry as a whole — will post big drops in sales and revenue. Michael Wittmann, president of Wittmann Technology GmbH, said the Vienna-based machinery company may show an increase in deliveries because of sales booked in 2022 and early 2023.
And, Wittmann added, the company already is seeing signs of improvements for 2024.
Bill agrees the long-term economic signs in the eurozone appear strong as the industry redefines and reinvents itself.
"I am confident we can all get to a future that is sustainable and circular with a rising standard of living for everyone, and I am certain the bridge to that future is built mostly of plastic," he said.
You can find the full column online here or download PN show dailies from Fakuma 2023 — which is free — here.