U.S. production of paper and paperboard rises 0.7% in September year-over-year; operating rate is 91.8%; production up 0.5% for paper, 0.8% for paperboard: AF&PA

LOS ANGELES , November 4, 2013 () – The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) released its September 2013 Monthly Statistics of Paper, Paperboard & Wood Pulp today.

The total output of paper and paperboard increased 0.7% in September 2013 from a year ago. This marked the third straight positive year-over-year outcome, including 1.0% for August and 2.0% for July, 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%.

In September 2013 the production of paper increased 0.5% year-over-year on an operating rate of 89.7%, up from 88.5% in September 2012. For the first three quarters of 2013, paper production declined 3.0% on an 88.3% operating rate, compared to a rate of 89.5% for the first nine months of 2012.

In September 2013, the output of paperboard rose 0.8% compared to that of September 2012, on a 93.4% operating rate, up from September 2012’s 93.7% rate.

The January-through-September output of paperboard gained 1.8% over the same months of 2012, on an operating rate of 95.5%. The year-ago rate was 93.9%.

The total September 2013 paper and paperboard operating rate was 91.8%, while in September 2012 it was 91.5%. The cumulative rate was 92.5%, up from 92.0% in the year-ago period. The year-to-date production fell 0.2%.

Paper statistics. The September 2013 production of printing and writing and related papers declined 0.2% from that of September 2012.

However, the uncoated freesheet and uncoated mechanical papers categories were in the positive ranks. In August 2013 there were no positive categories; 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 nine months of 2013, the production of printing and writing and related papers fell 4.4%.

In September 2013 the output of uncoated freesheet (UFS), which accounted for 46.8% of the month’s production of printing and writing and related papers, rose 0.7%. This compared to a 3.2% year-over-year decrease in August 2013, a 1.9% year-over-year increase in July 2013, and a 2.5% decline in June 2013. For the first nine months of 2013, UFS output was down 2.7% from the year-ago period.

The September 2013 output of total coated papers declined 1.7% year-over-year and it fell 5.1% year-to-date.

The September 2013 production of coated freesheet (CFS) papers dropped 0.1% year-over-year and 0.7% during the first three quarters of 2013.

The September 2013 output of uncoated groundwood (UCGW) paper increased 2.7% from a year ago, while for coated groundwood (CGW), there was a 3.7% decrease. The cumulative totals were down 10.8% and 10.2%, respectively.

In September 2013, the output of the small “other printing and writing papers” sector fell 0.6% and so far this year it has declined 3.4%.

Tissue paper output showed a 6.2% gain in September 2013 over a year ago, with capacity increases influencing the results. For the first nine months, the tissue paper production rose 4.5%.

The September 2013 output of newsprint declined 5.0% and has fallen 14.0% so far this year.

The output of packaging and other paper in September 2013 dropped 1.9% year-over-year and it was down 1.2% for the first nine months of this year.

Breaking out the packaging and other paper categories, unbleached kraft papers and specialty packaging and other papers continued to show year-over-year production declines, this time by 5.9% and 1.0%, respectively.

And again, the production of the small bleached kraft papers sector was positive, up 15.5% year-over-year in September 2013 and 13.4% year-to-date.

Paperboard statistics. In September 2013 the output of U.S. paperboard producers was negative year-over-year for containerboard but positive for boxboard.

Containerboard production was down 0.1% in September but up 2.3% for the year. This included a 0.7% decline in corrugating medium output, but the year-to-date figure rose 1.2%. Linerboard had a 0.2% year-over-year production increase and it was up 2.7% for the first nine months of 2013.

The production of boxboard rose 3.1% in September and was up 0.5% so far this year.

The production of total folding boxboard increased 3.8% in September 2013 compared to a year ago and it was up 1.0% for the year. In this sector, unbleached kraft boxboard output rose 4.1% year-over-year and 0.1% year-to-date, and solid bleached boxboard production increased 7.8% year-over-year and 1.1% year-to-date. But recycled boxboard output declined 0.2% from September 2012, though the cumulative total rose 2.0%.

There was a 2.5% increase in the output of liquid packaging and food service boxboard in September, while the year-to-date total was unchanged.

The production of “other” boxboard increased 2.2% in September 2013; the year-to-date total showed a 0.1% decline.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.