Several BCTMP producers announce Dec. 1 US$30/tonne price increases for China

December 8, 2010 Several bleached chemi-thermomechanical pulp (BCTMP) producers have announced $30/tonne Dec. 1 price increases for China.

Producers known to have done so include New Zealand-based Winstone Pulp Ltd., Vancouver, British Columbia-based West Fraser Timber Co., and Edmonton, Alberta-based Millar Western Forest Products, sources said.

West Fraser, which produces both softwood and hardwood BCTMP, and Winstone, which produces softwood BCTMP, announced late last week. Millar Western is telling customers it is following Winstone and also going up $30/tonne on hardwood BCTMP.

Industry sources note that the current price increases of imported BCTMP would help producers recover some of the dramatic drops from the summer in China, to as low as the $500s/tonne, as a few key customers refused to buy. (BCTMP prices did not fall as far in other Asian countries.) The new prices would put BCTMP back into the mid-$500s/tonne or more, depending on the grade and other factors.

The December China increases will also help producers keep pace with the still-large differential with local bleached hardwood kraft pulp (BHKP) prices, which have risen by about $30/tonne or so recently. Sources said current local BHKP prices are from $630/tonne to $680/tonne, with different sources giving different prices.

Late last week, an industry source said softwood BCTMP appears to be very well sold and that hardwood BCTMP is not as well sold as softwood BCTMP, but better than hardwood kraft pulp. Producers are trying to recoup “what they gave away in China,” he said.

Meanwhile, China continues to increase its own BCTMP production. Asia Pulp & Paper Co. (APP) is starting up a 300,000 tonnes/year line in Guangxi, on the heels of the 300,000 tonnes/year line it started up in September, for a total of 600,000 tonnes/year, for integrated use.

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