NBSK pulp prices edge up in November as supplies tighten amid pulp mill downtime in Europe, Canada; pulp prices could rise again in January due to low stocks, full order books, although mills intend to fight markups, say sources

LOS ANGELES , December 4, 2012 () – Prices for northern bleached softwood kraft (NBSK) pulp increased during November, with the market becoming stronger in recent weeks as worldwide spot sales improved and mill maintenance downtime in Europe and Canada caused supplies to tighten, reported EUWID-Paper on Dec. 4.

Low producer inventories and full order books could lead to another pulp price increase in January, observers are forecasting; however, pulp consumers are expected to fight another price hike so close to the recent one because of the European paper industry’s weak condition, said sources.

The softwood price increase did not take full effect in all cases in November, with some pulp producers agreeing to implement the hike in two steps that would see the full increase invoiced in December, EUWID-Paper reported.

Splitting up the markup was not necessary because the full amount would have easily stuck in November given the market’s strong condition relative to supply and demand, according to one producer. However, the two-step strategy spread after a few competitors agreed to it at London Pulp Week.

The softwood pulp market appeared to stabilize toward the middle of November, when pulp producers realized that conditions were stronger than they had been in two to three months. By early December, it became apparent that prices were up slightly, as had been anticipated, reported EUWID-Paper.

The primary source of this article is EUWID-Paper, Gernsbach, Germany, on Dec. 4, 2012.

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