FMN | May 11th, 2020

Labelstock Demand (Cont’d from Page 4)

How is the largest label market in Europe dealing with Covid-19? Klemens Ehrlitzer, Managing Director of the German label association VskE, addressed some of the key questions which were also raised during the Covid-19 webinar. Q : How does VskE expect the market to react and how will the country’s operations evolve in the com- ing months? Klemens :At the moment there is no foreseeable sign of returning to normal life as it was in the pre-Covid- days. In Germany, the restrictions imposed led to a sit- uation where the number of infections decreased.The health system was easily able to cope with the daily cases on a day to day basis. It was even possible to accept Covid patients from other countries into the intensive care units within German clinics. In light of this, the German government has now started to ease some of the restrictions. In addition to the stores and supermarkets that had remained open, now other retail outlets are being allowed to re- open. One criterion for reopening is the size of the stores, e.g. smaller than 800 square meter of sales area. Schools will start to replace the online lessons with face-to-face lessons for those classes that have final ex- aminations this year.The automotive industry began to reboot the production to some degree. Special challenges in Germany: government mea- sures are interpreted differently by the 16 states.This means that opening dates, criteria, which stores can open, etc. varies from one state to the next. Example: While DIY stores were closed in one state but open in a neighbouring state “shopping tourism traffic”was observed.This resulted in the drivers from neighbour- ing states being fined by police who were checking the roads for non essential journeys. The label industry has not been hit by the govern- mental restrictions up to now. According to several statements from different ministries, the packaging and label industry is considered to be part of the crit- ical infrastructure to assure security of supply with food, medical products and other essential goods. The German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs published an occupational health and safety standard. How the production from the label converters devel- oped in the past Covid-19 weeks depended on the mar- ket segment, e.g. industrial labels for automotive cus- tomers had to accept considerable reductions while the food or pharma sector showed a higher demand than usual. Converters which normally cover markets like events, restaurants, clothing are suffering severely.” With easing of the restrictions a discussion started

(Cont’d on Page 13)

Flexo Market News May 11, 2020 11

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