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Survey Looks at Coatings Industry During Crisis

Thursday, March 26, 2020

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Recently, research company Gardner Intelligence has collected feedback from coatings and finishing manufacturers in an attempt to navigate how the COVID-19 pandemic is specifically affecting the coatings industry.

According to reports, the information was gathered via weekly surveys and market data on the evolving implications of coronavirus for the manufacturing industry.

Coatings Industry Impacts

Thus far, from information collected, reports are showing that current day-to-day manufacturing and shop efforts have been unaffected. However, the situation is constantly changing.

To predict how the impacts of COVID-19 could affect businesses and manufacturers in the United States, Chief Economist Michael Guckes from Gardner Intelligence used data from China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers index.

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Recently, research company Gardner Intelligence has collected feedback from coatings and finishing manufacturers in an attempt to navigate how the COVID-19 pandemic is specifically affecting the coatings industry.

“This is a overall look on a month to month basis of China's manufacturing activity, we can see that at the end of February, it hit a multi-year low of 35.7,” said Guckes. “If we look at the components that drive that overall economic number, we can see that production fell the steepest to 27.8.

“At the end of February, it was followed by new orders, and employment. All of the components of the manufacturing PMI in China, of course, fell in February.”

However, he adds that while productions were down, coal consumption went up at the end of January and revealed only a four- to five-week economic slowdown. In addition to looking at the country’s PMI, Guckes also looked at the Gardner Business Index, which measures the health of the manufacturing industry.

Guckes stated, “If we look at the GBI, finishing index, what we see during the second half of 2019 was an accelerating contraction in business conditions.” This information is apparent where in the months on January and February, numbers were moving closer to 50, meaning that contraction was slowing down.

“Again, that being February we see that the index was led by supplier deliveries and production, both of which were above 50 telling us that they were expanding.”

In addition to these index tools, the research company also held weekly surveys for coatings manufacturers. According to the responses received, the impact of COVID-19 has caused moderate product availability issues (60% responders) and a mix of moderate and major impacts on supplier lead times, accessibility and responsiveness, among other business aspects.

While the weeks continue, Gardner Intelligence intends to maintain surveying industry professionals so that changes can be tracked on a week-to-week basis.

Although this report has stabilized comparable data, other news agencies report on the impact COVD-19 has had on the construction and coatings industry. Specifically, regarding face masks and what the shortage issue is doing to local businesses.

Channel 14 News, an NBC affiliate out of Evansville, Indiana, reports that while some business owners are stating that they have more expensive masks on hand, if traditional stock continues to disappear, it could eventually impact the industry and the consumer.

Recently, Vice President Mike Pence announced a request urging construction companies to donate their inventory of N95 masks to your local hospital and forgo additional orders of those industrial masks.

In addition to Pence’s statement, legislation is currently being passed around in Congress that includes N95 liability protections for companies that manufacture and sell masks, as the masks are reported to be just as acceptable for healthcare workers in avoiding the inhalation of a respiratory disease.

Moving Forward

Adding to Guckes’ research findings, the economist also suggests a method to deal with the disease’s impacts. By going off his research, Guckes envisions the industry will experience a sharp “V”-shaped recovery, much like with coal and energy consumption in China.

Guckes recommends that business owners and manufacturers focus on data driven decisions so that companies can be flexible and ready to respond to the rebound.

“You don't want to make long term decisions now that will be hard to undo. If in the near term, we see business conditions improve. So what this may mean is that you're going to have to make investment decisions that don't necessarily sit easy with news headlines,” Guckes adds.

View all of PaintSquare Daily News’ coverage on COVID-19, here.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Business conditions; Business management; Business operations; Coating Business; Coatings; Coatings manufacturers; Coatings raw materials manufacturers; COVID-19; Economy; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; Market research; North America; Paint; Program/Project Management; Protective Coatings; Research; Z-Continents

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (3/26/2020, 8:08 AM)

The analysis seems optimistic. China clamped down far earlier and far harder than the USA, and the pandemic was largely limited to a single region. The USA has waited far later, meaning that COVID-19 cases are in every state, typically with community spread - and we have multiple epicenters where hospitals are being overwhelmed (New York, New Orleans) - and the USA still hasn't clamped down nearly as hard as China did. Median time from infection to hospitalization is about 2 weeks.

Comment from Robert Dahlstrom, (3/26/2020, 6:01 PM)

I think Tom Schwerdt makes a good point that the Gardner analysis seems optimistic. The US isn't China and if we are able to "flatten the curve" for the virus spread it could mean the economic recovery will be less like a V as it will take longer for the eventual recovery. A recent quote I saw is; “Both the Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge were built during the Great Depression. Great things can be built during great adversity. Start building today.” -Jon Gordon. I agree, lets build great things. Everyone please stay safe and healthy!

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