US production of paper and paperboard declines 3.5% year-over-year in November; operating rate is 88.5%; output drops 3.9% for paper and 3.3% for paperboard: AF&PA

LOS ANGELES , January 7, 2014 () – The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) released its November 2013 Monthly Statistics of Paper, Paperboard & Wood Pulp today.

The total production of paper and paperboard fell 3.5% in November 2013 from a year ago. This was a marked change from recent months. October results were up 0.3% year-over-year, for the fourth straight month of positive year-over-year results, including 0.7% for September, 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 November 2013 the output of paper sank 3.9% year-over-year on an operating rate of just 84.7%, down from 87.5% in November 2012. From January through November 2013, paper production was down 2.9% on an 88.2% operating rate, compared to a rate of 89.4% for the first 11 months of 2012.

The output of paperboard in November 2012 dropped 3.3% compared to that of November 2012, on a 91.2% operating rate, down from 95.4% in November 2012.

Production of paperboard in the first 11 months of 2013 was ahead of the year-ago period by 1.3%, on an operating rate of 94.9%. The year-ago rate was 94.0%.

The total November 2013 paper and paperboard operating rate was 88.5%, down from November 2012’s 92.1% rate. Output for January-through-November 2013 declined 0.4% compared to the year-ago period; the operating rates were 92.1% for both 11-month periods.

Paper statistics. The production of printing and writing and related papers declined 5.5% in November 2013 from a year ago.

The uncoated groundwood (UCGW) papers category was the only sector in the positive ranks, marking its third consecutive month. In November 2013 its production rose 13.9% from a year ago, but it was 7.8% lower for the year.

In October 2013 and September 2013 two of the printing and writing and related papers sectors had positive year-over-year results, while in August 2013 there were none. 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 11 months of 2013, the production of printing and writing and related papers was down 4.2%.

In November 2013 the production of uncoated freesheet (UFS), which accounted for 47.8% of the month’s output of printing and writing and related papers, dropped 4.1% year-over-year. This followed year-over-year increases of 2.7% in October and 0.7% in September, while August saw a 3.2% decrease. There was a 1.9% increase in July 2013 and a 2.5% decrease in June 2013. For the first 11 months of 2013, UFS output fell 2.4% from the year-ago period.

The total coated papers production in November 2013 sank 11.5% year-over-year and it fell 5.6% so far this year.

The November 2013 production of coated freesheet (CFS) papers dropped 12.7% from November 2012 and it was down 2.2% cumulatively.

The November 2013 output of coated groundwood (CGW) declined 10.0% and was down 9.7% from the first 11 months of 2012.

The November 2013 production of the small “other printing and writing papers” category (4.3% of the total printing-writing and related papers category for the month) fell 3.2% year-over-year and was down 3.1% for the first 11 months.

Tissue paper production saw a 1.1% increase in November 2013 over November 2012. For the first 11 months, the output of tissue paper rose 4.0%.

In November 2013, newsprint production declined 8.3%. The year-to-date production was 13.2% below that of the first 11 months of 2012.

The output of packaging and other paper in November 2013 declined 2.9% from a year ago and 1.3% so far this year.

Regarding the individual packaging and other paper categories, the year-over-year output of unbleached kraft papers rose after some months of declines, for a 1.6% year-over-year increase; it was down 3.7% cumulatively. Production of the specialty packaging and other papers sector continued to decline, down 1.8% year-over-year in November 2013 and falling 0.9% for the year.

Bleached kraft papers output, which has been in the positive year-over-year ranks for some months, had a 42.9% decrease in production in November 2013. It is a small sector, accounting for just 3.0% of the “packaging and other paper” category.

Paperboard statistics. In November 2013 the year-over-year production of U.S. paperboard included negative results for containerboard, while for boxboard there was no change.

Containerboard production fell 4.5% in November but was up 1.6% so far this year. Output of both corrugating medium and linerboard declined in November, by 8.1% and 3.0%, respectively. Year-to-date their output was up 0.4% and 2.1%, respectively.

The November 2013 production of boxboard was flat year-over-year and up 0.4% year-to-date.

The November 2013 output of total folding boxboard declined 2.2% year-over-year but was up 0.4% so far this year. In this sector, unbleached kraft boxboard production rose 5.8% in November and 0.3% for the first 11 months of 2013; the production of solid bleached boxboard sank 12.2% year-over-year and 0.8% year-to-date. Recycled boxboard output fell 0.3% in November 2013 but was up 1.7% cumulatively.

Production in November 2013 of liquid packaging and food service boxboard increased 5.5% year-over-year and 0.3% year-to-date.

The November 2013 output of “other” boxboard declined 0.2% from a year ago while increasing 0.6% for the year.

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