Declines Continue in Printing-Writing Paper Shipments, Recovered Paper Consumption

WASHINGTON, DC—Jan. 20, 2012—According to the American Forest & Paper Association’s December 2011 “Printing-Writing Paper Report,” total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 7 percent compared to December 2010. All four major printing-writing grades posted decreases compared to last December.

U.S. purchases (shipments + imports – exports) of printing-writing papers decreased 5 percent in December. Total printing-writing paper inventory levels increased 6 percent compared to November 2011.

Some points of interest from the report include:

  • Exports of uncoated free sheet (UFS) increased year-over-year for the fourth time in the past six months.
  • Shipments of coated free sheet (CFS) decreased year-over-year for the thirteenth consecutive month, following thirteen consecutive months of year-over-year increases.
  • Coated mechanical (CM) shipments decreased for the ninth consecutive month.
  • Uncoated mechanical (UM) shipments decreased year-over-year for the ninth consecutive month, following 15 consecutive months of year-over-year increases.

AF&PA members can access the full report on the AF&PA StatMill Website.

During the same period, total U.S. industry consumption of recovered paper was 2.3 million tons, 7.5 percent lower than in December 2010, and 3 percent lower than November 2011, according to AF&PA’s December 2011 “Recovered Paper Monthly Report.” Decreases compared to last month were observed across most grades of recovered paper, except pulp substitutes and high grade deinking, which recorded small gains. These gains, however, did little to offset the more precipitous drops in mixed, newspapers and corrugated.

Overall, consumption of recovered paper in 2011 was 5 percent lower than in 2010. Inventories increased to their highest level of the year in December, bringing days of supply up one day to 12, though they still fell short of the 922 thousand tons of ending stocks for December 2010.

U.S. exports of recovered paper dropped 6 percent in November, marking the lowest export volume in 2011 since February. The volume drop was accompanied by noticeable decreases in average dollars/ton values for mixed, newspapers and pulp substitutes. Year-to-date, exports in 2011 are 13 percent higher than last year by volume. Import tons were flat in November, keeping year-to-date volumes 29 percent higher than in 2010, but they also suffered a significant decrease in average dollars/ton values.