FOEX: Newsprint prices lose US$0.31/tonne for 30 lb. and US$0.57/tonne for 27.7 lb. indexes in US but increase €0.75/tonne in Europe, as early 2014 price talks progress; European prices down for LWC, coated woodfree papers but up for A4 B-copy paper
March 4, 2014
– Newsprint – January statistics from Euro-Graph showed a yet another fairly sizeable drop from previous year in the total European shipment figures, which were down by 7.5% from January 2013. Both regional shipments as well as exports sank, by 8.7% and 0.6% respectively. With imports of newsprint to Europe up from a year ago, the estimated European newsprint demand for the first month of the year was down less than the shipments within the region, or by 6.9%. The early 2014 price negotiations, for varying price fixing periods, are in their final stages with some price increases agreed upon, at least in most cases. Euro strengthened by about 0.1% against the weighted basket of non-EMU currencies which caused some downward pressure on the index. The PIX Newsprint index inched still up by 75 cents, or by 0.16%, and closed at 480.57 EUR/ton.
LWC – Euro-Graph changes in European shipments for coated mechanical printing papers were all clearly in the red, as both regional shipments and exports in January showed, yet again, substantial declines against the same month last year. Regional demand was down by 5.0%, whereas exports lagged January 2013 relatively more and fell by as much as 10.9%. Total European shipments ended 6.5% below January 2013. The early intentions of the producers to raise prices turned into no change, in the best cases and in several cases into a disappointing modest decline. The approximately 0.1% strengthening of the Euro against the weighted basket of non-EMU currencies pressured the benchmark southwards. The PIX LWC index retreated by 1.51 EUR, or by 0.23%, and ended at 656.32 EUR/ton.
Coated woodfree –Regional European shipments of coated woodfree paper grades decreased by 4.6% in January, according to Euro-Graph. Exports outside Europe were up this time, even though only by 0.2%, y-o-y. This limited the change of the total European coated woodfree shipments to a 3.5% decline against January 2012. With imports to Europe declining as well, the estimated European demand was down, by 5.3% in January. In February, the activity in the market appears to have been weaker than in January. Suppliers were hoping to push prices higher in the early part of this year but with weak statistics and market outlook, had no success in January-February and no price increase announcements appear to have been made from March 1, nor from April 1. The 0.1% strengthening of the Euro against the basket of non-EMU currencies meant a negative force on the benchmark. The PIX Coated woodfree index trickled down by 1.39 Euro, or by 0.21%, to 663.65 EUR/ton.
Uncoated woodfree – While many of the copy-paper producers have reported fairly decent order inflow, the over-supply situation has persisted and prices have been under continuous downside pressure, partly also driven by the strength of the Euro and the recent small retreat in hardwood pulp prices in Euro-terms. In the statistics, the January data from Euro-Graph reflected the news heard over the decent order-books. The numbers showed a modest 2.3% increase in the regional shipments, as well as in the estimated European demand. Exports outside the region fell, however, by 3.4%, and the total shipments from the European producers ended up by 1.4% against January 2013. The 0.1% strengthening of the Euro against the basket of non-EMU currencies caused minor downward pressure on the benchmark. However, the PIX A4 B-copy headed higher by 2.11 Euro, or by 0.25%, and reached 832.42 EUR/ton.
US Newsprint – US production of newsprint was down in January by nearly 18%, driven down by weather, falling NA demand and maybe also partially impacted by the weakening of the Canadian dollar against the US dollar. The PPPC released the North American demand numbers which showed a big 9% drop but that was still less than the above-shown losses seen in the US production. Within the total newsprint demand retreat was, once again bigger in the daily newspapers than in inserts and other such “non-newspaper” end-uses, which actually showed a small gain in January. Not much change to these trends has been seen in February, either. Both our PIX US Newsprint indices slipped lower from last week, the 30 lb index by 31 cents, or by 0.05%, to 584.11 USD/ton and the 27.7 lb index by 57 cents, or by 0.1%, to 622.68 USD/ton.
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