Demand from the Far East plus production constraints on raw material suppliers could mean paint shortages in the UK, according to Tony Mash, CEO of the British Coatings Federation.
The economic recovery currently being experienced by the Far East has stimulated sales of coatings and, with it, demand for the raw materials that go into paint and powder coatings formulations,” he says.
However, for a wide range of raw materials used by the coatings industry, a combination of increasing demand, maintenance shut downs and major plant breakdowns around the world has led to a situation where many ingredients are either in short supply, on exasperatingly long lead times, on force majeure or allocation.
BCF members have reported shortages particularly of epoxy resins and titanium dioxide over the last few months. Now, various grades of PVC, several plasticisers, acrylic acid and butyl acrylic, phthalic anhydride, china clay, raw wood oil, plastic packaging materials and even tin plate are also in a tight supply situation; all materials that are used in paint manufacture.
Mash adds: “Added to these difficulties, we have seen a significant tightening in the petrochemical market where the rising price of oil has impacted the cost of solvents such as white spirit and some glycol ethers, with double-digit percentage increases. This is also having an impact on the cost and availability of polyester resins used in the powder coatings industry.
“At a time when we are starting to see the paint and powder coating industries come out of recession in the UK and elsewhere, it is disappointing to learn that this recovery may be constrained by both supply difficulties upstream and double-digit cost inflation.”