The World Is Running Out of Blue

And paint companies don't know why.

Paint industry insiders are saying the problem is causing “complete chaos” as supply chain challenges intensify and reports emerge that the world is running out of the color blue.

You heard that right.

According to Bloomberg, Dutch paint company Akzo Nobel NV reports they’re running out of the ingredients to make several shades of blue paint, and the color tint has become “extremely difficult to get.”

And the weird part is: Akzo Nobel says there’s no reason for it.

Bloomberg quoted CEO Theirry Vanlacker as saying, “There isn’t really a reason why this big panic is happening” and that “this should be a transient situation that could take six to nine months to get back to normal, but there is no fundamental reason why there would be a lasting supply and demand imbalance.” He says the capacity for making these raw materials never changed, yet his company is now expecting cost increases and shortages into 2022.

Besides blue, shortages for Azko Nobel include an additive needed to make waterproof formulas, and even the tin plates for paint cans.

Competitor Sherwin-Williams has also voiced concerns over shortages in the last few months, and while it’s easy to blame the pandemic rush of home projects, it goes deeper than that. According to a September CNBC report, a deep freeze in Texas earlier this year that slowed petroleum production had a big impact on paint, which uses it as a key ingredient.

Ultimately, choice will be impacted, but so will prices. Paint prices were up more than 10% year-over-year in August, and in September, Sherwin-Williams said they anticipated more pricing changes to counteract their increasing material costs.

So besides switching hues if you’re a fan of cobalt, sky, indigo or cerulean, you might have to also dust off your wallet.

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