US production of paper and paperboard increases 1.0% in August year-over-year; operating rate is 94.5%; paper output drops 3.3% while paperboard output rises 3.9%: AF&PA

LOS ANGELES , October 1, 2013 () – The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) released its August 2013 Monthly Statistics of Paper, Paperboard & Wood Pulp today.

The total output of paper and paperboard rose 1.0% in August 2013 over that of August 2012. This was the second positive year-over-year outcome in a row, following two months of flat year-over-year statistics and a 1.8% increase in April. There were year-over-year respective decreases of 3.2% in March and 4.0% in February, while January rose 1.4%.

The August 2013 production of paper decreased 3.3% year-over-year on an operating rate of 89.1%, which dropped from 91.5% in August 2012. From January through August 2013, paper production fell 3.4% on an 88.1% operating rate, compared to 89.6% for the first eight months of 2012.

In August 2013, the output of paperboard increased 3.9% compared to that of August 2012, on a 98.4% operating rate, up from August 2012’s 95.8% rate.

The year-to-date production of paperboard increased 1.9% from the year-ago period, on an operating rate of 95.7% (the January-through-August 2012 rate was 94.0%).

The total August 2013 paper and paperboard operating rate was 94.5%, up from August 2012’s 94.0%. The year-to-date output dropped 0.3% from the first eight months of 2012, on a 92.5% operating rate. In January through August 2012, the rate was 92.1%.

Paper statistics. The August 2013 production of printing and writing and related papers fell 4.5% year-over-year.

There were no categories in the positive year-over-year ranks; there were a few in July 2013 but none in June 2013 and May 2013. All but a few sectors were negative year-over-year in April and January and all sectors were negative in March and February.

(In every month from April 2011 through January 2012, all of the printing and writing papers categories showed year-over-year declines; during 2012, there were occasional year-over-year increases for some of the categories.)

For the first eight months of 2013, the production of printing and writing and related papers declined 4.9%.

The August 2013 output of uncoated freesheet (UFS), which accounted for 48.4% of the month’s production of printing and writing paper, decreased 3.2% year-over-year, compared to a 1.9% year-over-year increase in July 2013 but a 2.5% drop in June 2013. For the first eight months of 2013, UFS output fell 3.1% from the year-ago period.

The August 2013 production of total coated papers fell 5.4% year-over-year and 5.5% year-to-date.

The production of coated freesheet (CFS) papers in August 2013 declined 4.9% and for the first eight months it fell 0.8% from the year-ago period.

Groundwood grades declined, as well, in August 2013 over August 2012.

The year-over-year production of coated groundwood (CGW) paper fell 6.0% and the output of uncoated groundwood (UCGW) dropped 7.3%. The respective year-to-date decreases were 11.0% and 12.2%.

The August 2013 production of “other printing and writing papers” dropped 4.6% and for the year it was down 3.5%.

Tissue production was up 3.6% in August 2013 year-over-year, continuing to reflect capacity increases. From January through August, it increased 4.3%.

Newsprint production dropped 16.3% year-over-year in August 2013. It fell 15.0% year-to-date.

The August 2013 production of packaging and other paper was up 0.1% year-over-year but year-to-date it was down 1.1%.

In this category, there were again decreases for unbleached kraft papers, which fell 1.5% year-over-year and 4.4% year-to-date, and for specialty packaging and other papers, which declined 1.1% year-over-year and 0.6% year-to-date.

Bleached kraft papers output again was in the positive ranks, this time up 25.6% year-over-year, and year-to-date it was up 13.2%. But this category accounts for just a fraction of the overall total packaging and other paper sector; in August 2013 it was 6.2%.

Paperboard statistics. As in July 2013, the production of the various kinds of paperboard in August 2013 was mostly positive year-over-year.

The output of containerboard rose 4.4% in August and 2.6% so far this year. Linerboard moved up 4.6% in August 2013 and 3.0% for the year, and corrugating medium rose 3.7% and 1.4%, respectively.

The production of boxboard increased 2.8% in August 2013 and 0.2% cumulatively.

The production of total folding boxboard rose 6.3% in August 2013 and 0.7% from January through August 2013. This included production of unbleached kraft (up 5.1% year-over-year but down 0.4% year-to-date); solid bleached (up 10.4% in August and 0.3% for the year); and recycled (higher by 3.7% year-over year and by 2.3% year-to-date).

The liquid packaging and food service boxboard category showed a 4.5% decline in August 2013 and it fell 0.3% cumulatively.

The production of “other” boxboard rose 2.6% in August 2013 but was down 0.4% for the year.

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