Intertrade Ireland Brexit Advisory Service


Commodity Report – March 2018

Top Trending Commodities

Commodity Overview – Wood Pulp
Description – Overview

3 Year Pulp & Kraft Trend

  • Prices for unbleached semi-extensible sack kraft paper have increased across Europe due to continued tight markets.4
  • Container Board supplier SCA has increased all of its brown and white Kraftliner grades by €60 per Ton since February, due to tight supplies of all Kraftliner grades.5
  • The corrugated board market is still showing strong demand for paper despite the market for recycled corrugated case material no longer being as overheated as it had been in the previous months. 6
  • In Germany, additional volumes of Kraftliner have become more plentiful however, holding current prices, however the kraftliner market may become tighter once more on the back of the spring maintenance season at producer plants.

Commodity Overview – Construction
Description – EU

3 Year EU Construction Trend
  • The February Ulster Bank construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey has indicated 4.5 years of continuous growth in the Irish construction industry with strong short term prospects.2
  • The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped to 59.2 in February of 2018 from 61.4 in January.
  • Demand for workers in the construction industry is set to increase. There were just to 1,735 construction apprentices employed last year in Ireland, down from 3,808 apprentices in 2010. In the UK, recruiters have recorded a marked decline in the availability of Eastern European workers since Brexit was announced.3

Commodity Overview – Dairy
Description – Milk

Dairy 3 Year Milk Trend
  • Liquid Milk production in 2017 was 4% higher than 2016 reaching a record volume of 2.284 billion litres.8
  • The expectation is that butter prices to June 2018 will continue to trade in the region of €4,800/t.9
  • Irish Processors are paying 30-34.5c/L including VAT for base milk prices, up to 3c lower than their January prices.10
  • Butter price in the latest Global Dairy Trade auction saw butter prices drop by 3.2%.11

Commodity Overview – Crude Oil
Description – Brent

3 Year Crude Oil Trend


  • U.S. shale oil production of shale oil in 2018 is expected to reach the highest annual average production in U.S. history and some predict that the U.S. will surpass Russia to become the world’s largest oil producer. 12
  • Following $70/barrel prices reached in January 2018, oil prices stand at the highest monthly average since 2014.
  • Expectations are for Crude oil prices to average $62/barrel in 2018 and in 2019 and to rise to $85.70/barrel in the longer term to 2025. 13

Commodity Overview – Currency
Description – EUR – GBP

3 Year EUR – GBP Trend
  • Sterling reached its highest level since June at 86.90, following the news that a Brexit agreement with Ireland had been reached.16
  • The Euro Zone Purchasing Manager’s Index for February showed a slight dip as it fell to 57.1 from January’s 58.8
  • The pound has remained relatively stable in recent weeks as Brexit talks have continued without a UK compromise with the EU on a soft border option.16
  • The latest UK Purchasing Manager Index figures exceeded forecasts at 53.3 with strong job creation figures following a rebound in business activity growth in February.​15

Commodity Overview – Currency
Description – USD – EUR

3 Year USD – EUR Trend
  • The IMF has predicted a 2.7% growth for the US economy in 2018. 17
  • US interest rates are expected to rise in 2018 and concerns are mounting on the affect to the economy of interest repayments on the US National Debt, which now stands close to $20 Trillion.
  • Eurozone growth of 2.2% has been forecasted for 2018 and 2% in 2019.
  • Predictions are that EUR/USD will continue to trade at between 1.24 and 1.28 to the end of 2018.

Commodity Overview – Currency
Description – GBP – USD

3 Year GBP – USD Trend
  • Expectations are that pound will exchange at 1.41 against the dollar in March, at 1.45 at June end and at 1.44 by the end of 2018.16
  • The US unemployment rate remains stable and new job number increases were recorded in February.20
  • The US announcement that it would impose tariffs of 25% on Steel imports has sparked a trade war reaction from China, Europe and the UK.

Interview: Rebecca Martin

Why did you choose to work in procurement?

During final year, one of my modules included Project Management. Our final year project for that module was to interview a business about how they initially set up their business model, whether they outsourced for various aspects of the business and what obstacles they faced when setting up. This was an interesting topic to me as I had just started a new job in a new company that was recently set up therefore I interviewed my new boss. The interview was very beneficial for the project but also gave me an insight into the business model. The plans the company put in place for future events actually took place in real life. It was fascinating to watch these events unfold. This just goes to show with good project management skills anything is possible. I knew project management was an important aspect in procurement, so I thought it would be interesting to see it in action in a different scenario and the impact procurement has on the management of a project.

Why did you choose to work in supply chain?

As part of my Master’s project, one of my modules consisted of supply chain. I thought it was a really interesting module as it thought me a lot about how companies operate. From the smaller scale companies to large multi-nationals. What I found to be of most importance was the lack of trust consumers now hold for big businesses mainly because of the Tesco horse meat scandal. It is important to me to know who exactly is producing or manufacturing my food and where exactly it is coming from. Traceability and reliability are the two main reasons why supply chain has caught my attention.

What do you like about iDDea?

I like that what you see is what you get. Everyone is really open and friendly. If there is ever a problem my colleagues are always upfront and address the issue straight away instead of turning a blind eye. The company holds a lot of trust in their employees and always encourages success and to believe in your own abilities. They are extremely flexible when it comes to the working week and holidays if necessary.

What has been your most challenging undertaking in your career so far?

When I worked in a hospital I was given the sole responsibility to manage an audit on discharges. A hospital is a busy environment with copious amounts of people coming and going. It was up to me to visit various wards on a daily basis and gather the information necessary for the discharge audit to ensure the hospital was complying with JCI standard before inspection.

Have you had any unusual jobs before working in iDDea?

I used to work in a children’s play/party zone centre where I faced many challenges. Not only do I have the communication skills to deal with adults I can also deal and relate to kids very well. It thought me how to deal with conflict and how to address difficult situations amongst parents or children. I have the patience of a saint from working there!

Ingrid is CEO of the Year 2018!

Our CEO Ingrid De Doncker, the self-professed red shoed Dorothy on the yellow procurement brick road, has delivered again!

In 2015, her procurement consultancy company won the Micro Company LEO West and North Cork award after only 1 year in the business. Now 3 years later, the Irish SME Business awards 2018 has recognised the woman behind the slogans “value beyond savings” and “elevating the procurement profession for growth” with the inaugural accolade of “CEO of the Year 2018″.

If you know Ingrid, you will also know she is not shy in expressing herself but this time she was speechless for a split second. Her first reaction was:

“Oh God, a Belgian lady getting an award for CEO of the Year in Ireland, that is wonderful and says as much about Ireland as a country to do business in as about me: inclusive, flexible, open minded and hard working. It is such an honour and I can only credit this award to the wonderful people in the iDDea team, our customers, our partners, our mentors, our supporters. Let’s take it to Europe now!”

Love me ‘Tender’, Love me Sweet!

For the day that is in it, Valentine’s Day, the 14th of February, when little Cupid is shooting arrows straight into people’s hearts, and making people fall in love, we need to take into account the other side of the rainbow as well…

Ah, Elvis, he sang it so well! The pain, the agony, the suffering of a broken heart!! The impact when it goes wrong, the heartache, the emotional drain of it all…. If only we found a way to understand the why, know what to do about it, and how we can make sure we can mend it! And the joy when we do find a common ground, the solution, a way forward.

Love me ‘Tender’, and tender needs to be understood here as ‘formal, structured invitation to suppliers to submit a bid to supply products or service’.

Buying is a rational but equally an emotional process, and the song can be recited from both sides of the coin. Both buyers and sellers need to understand the other side first before they can make the proposal stick! The process, and it is a process, is used and abused a lot of times to disengage, to blame, to hide behind when in reality, it should be a help, not a hindrance.

Mastery Matters, so let’s demystify the Tender process and start loving it! From both sides, so that ultimately, it is not the process but the value that buyers and sellers can offer each other, that will result in the optimum decision.

For me, the most important question to ask is ‘What is procurement trying to achieve and how can we work closer together with suppliers to achieve the desired outcome?’

Traditional Procurement starts with the needs identification and defines the performance or conformance specifications which are the inputs in the tender process. Procurement supports the definition of requirements and translates these into a tender and through the process engages with the market to achieve the best possible outcomes.

What are we missing? In the above scenario, we miss the supplier’s expertise to help us to define the right specifications. Procurement should be focused on delivering the business outcomes that are valuable, rather than focusing on drafting the input specifications. The supplier is a lot more expertised in doing that, we need to ensure that we clearly communicate to the market what our desired outcome is.

Thus, the responsibility of the inputs definition needs to be transferred over to the suppliers and they can advise their customers and decision makers how they can create value and deliver the desired outcome for their business. This different perspective of procurement value changes the model entirely and we move towards an outcome-based procurement model.

Ultimately, a process, is a process, is a process, is a process. Whatever tender process suits to deliver the desired outcome, that is for me a ‘fit for purpose’ process. Ultimately, it is the outcome that is important, not the process. After all, does it not matter for Cupid’s arrow as well? Does it matter what path needs to be followed for 2 people to fall in love? As long as they do?


A great start to 2018 for CEO of iDDea

We are very proud to announce that our CEO and founder, Ingrid De Doncker is nominated for CEO of the year, from the Irish SME Business Awards. The inaugural Irish SME Business Awards 2018 celebrate the hard work of the best professionals and businesses in the sector.


Commodity Report: December


Meet the team: Ingrid De Doncker

What are your hobbies?

I used to do a lot of sports, gymnastics, volleyball, jazz dancing, swimming and playing the piano. I find it hard to set aside time to do any of the these at the moment. One of my hobbies currently is working… sad, but true.


2018 Benchmark Study will examine the impact of sales and marketing on business performance

Co-sponsored by Salesforce, the study looks to uncover strategic insights to help companies succeed in 2018. This is the second year of the study, devised by Altify in conjunction with iDDea.


Commodity Report: September


  • The 2017 budget contains a €750m fund for builders, plus an additional €75m to open up sites for residential development and 3,800 new social homes in 2018 as housing initiative measures 1
  • The Construction Industry Federation has reported very strong demand in the sector at 25,000 units, while increased output activity will reach nearly 19,000 units 2
  • The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) expanded to 56.5 in September from 55.1 in August 3


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