The market was less active as many believed the drop that has been imminent would come. After mixed signals, two contradictory reports that seem to be dueling each other, the market has been stable. However, like my broken New Year’s resolution already – I ate half the pan of brownies – the market will falter and drop. The expectation is that a drop for the entire first quarter of 2018 is in the cards as new resin supplies come into the market. However, the trickles of lower prices are going to see the effect of the massive consolidation that has taken place from the processors of resin to film.
Like the Crime Consortium of the Joker, The Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman, the power of the new Film Economy is wrested in the able hands of 6 manufacturers and 2 of the 6 manufacturers control 50% of the spend. We will see if these Goliaths start to push some of their new found muscle. We are seeing new players emerge but they are so small and insignificant that it is like driving a Ford Pinto in a Nascar event. The crystal ball has been shaken and came up with “Ask Me Again Later”. I shouldn’t have bought one of these Magic 8 Balls in the 80’s, not the kind that killed John Belushi, the kind that was used to predict the future.
Since we are dealing with a Global Economy, I have read many analytical reports that show a growth in the cost of pulp in the range of 5-7% from 2018 to 2019. Since they are using the same crazy 8 ball of predictions that I am using, I would tend to say giving off a mark that is barely above inflation is a safe bet. I am offering this without the grand paycheck these economists are garnering for their government or banking sectors.
I would also state that with little trickles upward, we are not going to see much in the way of wild high price increases as before but a hope for a stable market in 2018. We are seeing the effects of the push for more sustainability and recycling efforts that are beyond the efforts of the paris climate accord. The larger economies in the world will make a lasting push for more recycling and sustainability in both paper and plastics.
The New Year is a time to reflect and to look upon not just the last year but at your life. I still haven’t adjusted to writing 2017 and now I have to write 2018, I have issues with this because when I was a child, my time was always measured by gifts and birthday cake. If you asked me in the year 2000, when the whole Y2K mess was suppose to make planes fall from the sky, that we would be obsessed with our iPhones and having public debates about our President’s tweets; I would have said you were nuts. The pace of technology is so fast and the world is moving so quickly. I forgot my Spanish lessons because I have an app for that now. I can speak English into the app, and it translates back in Spanish. I wonder why Siri and Alexa sound so similar and I seem to be having a relationship with them because when I get bored, they actually will tell me a joke. I can’t seem to play a video game with my kids, because I don’t have the coordination or dexterity to use all the buttons. I miss my old atari joystick with the 1 button. I now have so many bluetooth devices, that they are fighting a war of dominance depending on which device I’m using. God forbid you put your phone through your Kid’s bluetooth device and they hear you discussing vigorously with the production crew in Las Vegas and a few choice words entered into your vocabulary, words you tell them to never use. Through all this I’ve made the same old resolutions about the food and the exercise.
I have resolved to put down some of these devices and to make sure I’m more accessible for everyone. I will work hard to be more accessible for all of you and instead of texts or emails, I will personally contact you by phone or video chat. I also look forward to traveling more this year and marketing our company and our products. We have so many new products and we have to get them in your hands to sell them.
This brings me to one of our greatest accomplishments last year. We hired our very first Chief Operating Officer (COO), Kevin Quidore. His resume is incredible but I never look much at these sheets of paper, speaking to the man, I could tell it was about where he would take us and he opened before me the future of Alliance Plastics. He brings calm and steadiness to our sometime chaotic world. He brings a new level of professionalism, consistency and he is a wizard with operations and numbers. I joked that all the things he brought kicked us into the 1990’s. He of course has done so much more and we are extremely excited about the future in 2018 and beyond. So, Kevin and I are looking forward to working with you and want to get started with Alliance 2.0. We wish you all a very prosperous 2018. I will see you soon, we will raise our glasses and toast, “to the future”.