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Many a slip between cup and lip

As summer dawns and a jabbed nation prepares to celebrate the submission of Covid-19, beware some ominous rumblings for the country – and the flooring industry.

IF you’ve had your jab – or maybe even your second one – I’m sure you’re feeling as though the world has been lifted from your shoulders. Yes, the vaccines may not be 100% effective, they may have been spurned by some people, and they may or may not be effective against a range of new variants, but they still represent the best of modern science and have given us, literally and figuratively, our passport to freedom.

It would be easy to suppose that in this atmosphere of relief and celebration there’s much to embrace and little to fear. But I think that would be a mistake. It’s always wise to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Stop being a doom-monger – we’ve already been through the worst! I hear you say. And that is indeed true – we’re finally emerging from the greatest international crisis since World War 2, and the most frightening global pandemic since the Spanish Flu 100 years ago.

But when it comes to the economy and its associated cogs such as inflation, I’m wary about the long-term scarring the lockdowns have inflicted on it, as well as the mushrooming levels of debt that cannot simply be wished away with a few tax rises.

How will this affect the flooring industry? It’s unclear about any direct impact, but the clues are there if you look for them. Tucked away in our News pages this month is an article about a flooring manufacturer which had to tell its customers a raw material surcharge was essential to offset the rapid rise in worldwide costs of the primary raw materials used to produce PVC tiles. These factors, the company pointed out, lay outside its control and are of an unprecedented nature.

The company explained that the past year has seen a worldwide increase in demand for PVC resin and plasticiser combined with a reduction in supply because of the pandemic. But there is, as ever, light at the end of the tunnel. This is how the company concluded:

‘Rest assured, we’re monitoring the situation closely and are hopeful this will be a temporary supply/demand economic impact. We expect to see a future decline in raw material costs as the numerous factors currently at play recede, and their impact on price lessens.’

So, best to be hopeful about the future, but cautious too, because that will help you prepare for further shocks down the road.  

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