FEBRUARY 2021 PAPER MARKET UPDATE

February News

Price Increases Announced Across All Paper Grades

Since the end of 2020 there have been twenty-two price increase announcements from fourteen paper mills across CFS, CGW, UFS and UGW grades (see table). The increases range from $1.13 to $4.00 / cwt. While some of the increases have already been implemented, others are slated to take effect with February or March shipments. Increasing demand, rising costs and supply constraints across raw materials, labor, freight and logistics networks continue to stress the supply chain. As a result, RISI expects upward price movement for most graphic paper grades to continue in 2021.

Nine Dragons to Build Huge New Mill in China

Chinese mill group Nine Dragons announced plans to build a new mill on the border of China and Vietnam. The facility will be located in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and is expected to have capacity of 7.95 million tonnes per year. The project is expected to require an investment of $4.6 billion (£3.3 billion) by the company. The strategy for this new facility will be to import recovered fibre from its current suppliers in US, UK, Europe and elsewhere into Malaysia, where the post consumer cardboard and paper will be turned into pulp before being shipped to the Guangxi facility. Nine Dragons anticipates that the new mill will be completed in 2025.

Pulp Prices Surge

Bleached softwood kraft pulp futures have risen 48% on the Shanghai Futures Exchange since Dec. 1, to about $1,037 per ton. Meanwhile, producers around the world are boosting prices for the wood mash at unusually sharp rates. Domtar said it would raise prices this month between $100 and $130 per ton, depending on grade. And International Paper is raising its fluff pulp prices in key global markets by $80-115/ton, effective March 1. Prices are hottest for softwood pulp which is used to make a variety of paper grades and products such as premium paper towels, and coffee cups. China buys more than one-third of the world’s pulp. (WSJ)

Businesses Launch Legal Fight to Prevent USPS Price Hikes

Big users of the U.S. Mail, who already are upset about slow service, are asking a federal court to block hefty postage increases they expect to be announced next month and implemented this summer. Commercial mailers, printers and nonprofit groups argue that the Postal Regulatory Commission exceeded its authority in November when it granted new pricing powers to the U.S. Postal Service. The petitoners fear that the Postal Service will raise prices by 5.5% to 9% this year for letters, magazines, catalogs and other items, which they said could raise postage costs by more than $2 billion annually. (WSJ)

Demand and Operating Rate Forecasts (RISI)

U.S. Economy and Paper End-Use Indicators

N.A. Coated Paper Operating Rates

N.A. Apparent Consumption 

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