Paper Outlook — Paper Trails Economy
January 1, 2004

BY MARK SMITH Technology Editor Paper costs can account for as much as 60 percent or more of a typical commercial printing job. For that reason, the fortunes of both industries are inextricably linked. But it is not a one-to-one relationship. Paper pricing and availability can swing in cycles that don't mirror printing business activity, either in timing or degree. Printers are insulated from the impact of rising paper prices, at least to some extent, because the material is more or less a pass-through cost. In recent years, both industry segments have been enduring a dramatic drop in pricing power. Paper companies have