A Misanthropic Resolution

By Charles Wyndham.

There are few reasons to be grateful for the changing of the year, but having the excuse to indulge in the comfort of one’s own house with little chance of any phone calls and open a bottle of champagne, to be consumed before midnight as a suitable night cap and the mobile turned off, is most definitely one.

You can always read the SMS messages the next morning, which is when I expect to hear from Boney.

Why everything should change simply because the clock has gone around another 24 hours and it happens to be at the end of the December is not something I understand.

I always find a dreary sameness when I wake the following morning having avoided as much hullabaloo as possible.

In the past I have found that as the clock ticks towards midnight some can get overly emotional.

The other odd form of escapism so prevalent at this time of the year is the practice of people making New Year resolutions.

I say ‘escapism’ because there is not much chance of any one of them ever being achieved.

It is vaguely funny, in an embarrassing sort of way, when you read about some misanthropic, obese, chain smoking, alcoholic nerd proudly proclaiming with tears of pride trickling down their cheeks that all will be different on the stroke of midnight.

I have always failed.

Sightholders with their next offering being presented to them early in the New Year are all hoping that there will be some change.

Despite DTC lowering prices directly and indirectly through assortment changes in the last few sights of 2006, the majority of boxes are still showing losses.

The market is looking to see what DTC will do for the first sight of the year which has a tendency to set the tone for the first half, if not the whole year.

The figure being bandied around is a price reduction in the order of about 5% as what is required.

The one thing for sure is that if the DTC do drop prices by 5% the market will not at first see it in the goods. A drop of at least 8% might elicit recognition of a decrease getting close to 5%.

So assuming, though I do not believe that it is a certainty, that DTC do something it will be some time before the real effect is known.

As the PolishedPrices index has shown 2006 has not been a good year.

A fact which puts into context the balmy words that accompanied the DTC’s price increase in February 2006, that the fundamentals were oh so terribly good.

To help the general digestive juices at this time of the year you may recall the statement by Des Cavanagh, DTC sales director, saying that the increase of 2% was "intrinsically linked to the performance of the polished demand in the key consumer markets."

He was even more helpful in informing us all that, "We ( DTC) have carefully taken into account current market fundamentals and the medium to long-term view, which we see as positive."

The index has in fact stood still comparing its opening in January to its close in December, though gyrating pretty wildly at times throughout the year.

It is difficult to see the index shooting ahead in the first quarter, but markets are capricious at the best of times; and whatever the apprehension there maybe, it is more likely that prices will be increasing through 2007 than declining or staying static, which in effect is a decline.

The acceptance that there maybe or certainly will be for many DTC clients a shortage of rough certainly loads the dice in favour of an upward movement.

Slowly some of the structural changes are actually taking place that are so essential for our industry, such as the stock revaluation in Antwerp.

However jaundiced any inherent prejudice against SoC, we, or rather I, must wait to see if Varda Shine, DTC managing director, is going to pull any bunnies out of the hat during the January Sight when she tells the gathered what they plan as the ‘evolution’ of SoC1.

I take hope in the DTC’s choice of word of ‘evolution’ as that presumes an acceptance of survival of the fittest.

With my inherent scepticism, I would suggest the same resolution for you as I always unfailingly adhere to on this night of the year, namely at least two glasses of champagne and bed before midnight.