European woodpulp consumers' stocks increase by 6.9% in February over January, while year-over-year consumption decreases by 3.8%: Utipulp

LOS ANGELES , March 16, 2012 () – European woodpulp consumers’ stocks increased in February over January by 43,832 tonnes, or 6.9%, to 678,814 tonnes, according to data released today by Utipulp.

Stocks increased by one day, to 21 days. In February 2011, stocks were at 20 days. In 2011, stocks hovered in the 19-21-day level the entire year.

Despite the February increase, stocks are still at near-record lows. As reported a month ago, Utipulp has changed its figures for the preceding years due to “a light modification of the statistical sample.” With these changes, the most recent low is November 2011’s 629,133 tonnes, originally reported as 647,272 tonnes.

Stocks have trended low since dropping to fewer than 1 million tonnes in December 2006, as consumers maintain only minimal inventories.

In February, consumption fell year-over-year by 36,799 tonnes, or 3.8%, to 939,779 tonnes. For February over January, it decreased by 30,110 tonnes, or 3.1%. This was the fourth straight month in which consumption was below 1 million tonnes. Given Utipulp’s modified statistical sample, consumption in 2011 was under 1 million tonnes in every month except January March, May, and October.

Stocks increased for both bleached hardwood kraft pulp (BHKP) and bleached softwood kraft pulp (BSKP) in February.

BHKP stocks rose by 19,222 tonnes, or 5.5%, to 368,603 tonnes, compared to January.

BSKP stocks rose in February over January by 9.7%, or 24,986 tonnes, to 283,612 tonnes.

Bleached softwood sulfite pulp stocks increased by 1,016 tonnes, or 8.0%, to 13,756 tonnes, but bleached hardwood sulfite pulp stocks decreased by 867 tonnes, or 14.9%, to 4,946 tonnes. Unbleached sulfite and kraft pulp stocks fell by 525 tonnes, or 6.2%, to 7,897 tonnes.

February stocks compared to those of January have risen in nine of the previous 16 years, while year-over-year consumption has increased in eight of the previous 15 years.

The Utipulp statistics include kraft and sulfite pulp figures from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Figures for Spain go back only to January 2001, but since Spain has few users, its data are a small part of the overall Utipulp totals.

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