Printing and writing paper prices skyrocket in May amidst insufficient supply, increasing costs
Prices for coated paper and uncoated free sheet skyrocketed in May, with uncoated free sheet prices jumping $90/ton and coated paper prices by at least $80/ton. Prices for 60-lb coated rolls and economy sheets soared $110/ton or more. In all cases, these May price increases were the largest single-month price increases ever, a surge made even more impressive because prices have been ascending rapidly for the past year.
Demand is expected to remain steady through the summer, and with several mills taking maintenance downtime, paper will continue to be scarce and expensive. In addition, imports are not coming in as they used to due to extremely high maritime freight rates and energy costs in some regions, further accelerating the problem. Industry observers do not rule out further price increases as soon as later this summer. Transportation remains challenging, but trucking availability is a bit better than it has been. (RISI)
Imports not filling the gap in the North American paper market
The strike at UPM’s paper mills in Finland ended in late April. Still, extremely high energy prices and the difficult international shipping environment remain obstacles for imports. Offshore imports accounted for 17.2% of North American P&W demand in 2021, a record share that still left tonnage 21% below pre-pandemic levels. This decline has amplified low domes-c paper availability and helped turn tight paper markets into outright shortages. (RISI) a
BillerudKorsnas begins concept, feasibility planning to convert Verso's Escanaba, Michigan, mill to paperboard
Following BillerudKorsnäs AB's acquisition of Verso Corp. — now called Billerud North America — the company will begin the work of converting Verso’s Escanaba, Michigan, paper mill to an integrated paperboard facility with an expected capacity of about 1.2 million tons. Billerud plans to have one of the two Escanaba machines up and running in carton board by the end of 2025 or the beginning of 2026. The company plans to continue operating the Quinnesec, Michigan, mill as a graphic papers mill.