LEATHERHEAD, England - Confidence levels in the coatings industry have returned to those last seen in 2016, as the latest statistics from the British Coatings Federation (BCF) show a renewed optimism, with companies showcasing a more positive outlook for paints, coatings and printing ink sales for the year ahead.

The BCF's Business Confidence Survey asked coatings companies about their 2018 forecasts on future sales, employment and investment in comparison with 2017. Some improvements were seen in expectations for gross profit margins following the tough run of results seen in recent years, while the outlook for UK sales was also more upbeat with just over 80% of firms predicting an improvement in 2018. But the BCF warns this could be the calm before the storm.

While in the short term this is good news, the Federation’s concerns are in the longer term, especially in relation to Brexit. BCF's Chief Executive, Tom Bowtell, commented, "Heading into the new year with a renewed confidence is great for the industry, however, there are potential headwinds if we don't get the Brexit deal right. The BCF is going to do everything we can to get the best deal for the coatings industry, to continue as close to frictionless trade with the EU as possible."