Ilim in Russia announces Nov. 1 pulp price hikes for China, up US$20/tonne for NBSK and US$30/tonne for UKP; hardwood pricing to stay flat

LOS ANGELES , October 15, 2013 () – Russia’s Ilim Group has announced Nov. 1 northern bleached softwood kraft (NBSK) and unbleached kraft pulp (UKP) price increases for China, while keeping its price of northern bleached hardwood kraft (NBHK) price unchanged, according to an industry source.

Ilim’s new price for NBSK will be US$720/tonne CFR, up $20/tonne.

Its UKP price is going up $30/tonne on Nov. 1. (The new price was not immediately available.)

Ilim’s NBHK price would be $650/tonne CFR.

This information has not been confirmed with Ilim and there is some confusion about the new levels. In mid-September an industry source (not Ilim) had said that Ilim’s Oct. 1 prices would be $680/tonne DAF and $710/tonne CFR, up $30/tonne, rather than $700/tonne CFR as the latest price hike announcement would indicate. Also the source had said that the Oct. 1 NBHK prices would be $630/tonne DAF and $660/tonne CFR, not $650/tonne CFR.

A Nov. 1 $720/tonne NBSK price by Ilim would be $10/tonne down from Celulosa Arauco y Constitución SA’s (Arauco) announced price of $730/tonne for bleached radiata kraft pulp (BRKP).

Meanwhile, in October, the BRKP price in China of $710/tonne is just $10/tonne below the Canadian/Nordic commodity NBSK price of $720/tonne instead of the more typical $20/tonne differential. With Mercer International Inc.’s just-announced Nov. 1 price of $740/tonne for commodity NBSK, up $20/tonne, the $10/tonne differential between BRKP and Canadian/Nordic NBSK will remain in November.

Production, capacity. On April 25, Ilim announced that it had started up its 720,000 tonnes/year NBSK pulp line in Bratsk. In late May Ilim shut down its old 220,000 tonnes/year line.

Industry sources continue to report that Ilim is still ironing out production and quality issues on the new line, so Chinese buyers still have to turn elsewhere for supply.

The Bratsk mill also has a capacity of 270,000 tonnes/year of BHKP and 285,000 tonnes/year of unbleached kraft pulp (UKP), according to an industry source.

As for production in 2012, on Feb. 11, Ilim said in a press release that last year its mills in Siberia and in northwest Russia manufactured more than 2.580 million tonnes of pulp and paper products, including 1.639 million tonnes of market pulp, up 2% year-over-year.

On May 23 Ilim Group said its total production in Russia in the first quarter of 2013 was flat year-over-year at 633,000 tonnes, with market pulp output unchanged at 397,000 tonnes, market containerboard output up 4% to 179,000 tonnes, and paper output down 2% to 58,000 tonnes.

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