April 26, 2000

Paper Prices Hold Steady

Paper stock markets will likely hold up this month, although there has been some pressure to knock down pricing for some of the higher grades. Sorted white ledger, office pack and coated book stock all seem to be easing back a bit in price, although movement and demand both seem to be in good shape.

One possibility being mentioned is that some mills, and Canadian buyers in particular, are trying to encourage a reduction to their raw material prices, which have been climbing sharply over the past six months. An even more accelerated growth pattern occurred during the first few months of this year. The actions by the buyers may have had some success, since these grades have come off between $10 and $20 per ton in March, and could slip another $10 per ton this month.

Although many of the office grades have been slipping, pulp prices and a number of finished paper product producers are looking to push through price increases early this month for their finished products. Board producers, pulp producers and some printing and writing paper companies have announced hikes of as much as $50 per metric ton.

Typically, a hike in finished paper prices translates into higher raw material prices. However, there is a sense by some consumers that many of the de-inking grades are too high, and could drop to a more equitable level regardless of finished paper pricing hikes.

( is an electronic publication covering the paper stock markets and paper recycling industry.)