World 20 pulp producer stocks unchanged in May over April, at 36 days, with softwood down one day, to 26 days, and hardwood up one day, to 48 days; shipments gain 1.9% year-over-year on 89% shipment-to-capacity rate

LOS ANGELES , June 19, 2014 () – World 20 chemical market pulp producer stocks remained the same in May over April, at 36 days, according to statistics released today by the Pulp and Paper Products Council (PPPC).

This included a one-day reduction in softwood sulfate pulp stocks, to 26 days, and a one-day increase in hardwood sulfate pulp stocks, to 48 days (standard calculation). In May 2013, the total was 33 days, including 27 days for softwood pulp and 40 days for hardwood pulp.

Producers shipped 3.738 million tonnes in May 2014, up 1.9% from May 2013. This reversed three straight months in which World 20 shipments fell from their year-ago counterpart months.

The May 2014 shipment-to-capacity rate was 89%, falling from 90% in both May 2013 and April 2014. The March 2014 rate was 91% and the rates were 94% for February and 82% for January, down from December 2013’s 95%.

Though the shipments were higher in May 2014 over May 2013, the year-to-date shipments lagged compared to the first five months of 2013. So far this year they totaled 18.051 million tonnes, down 0.8% from the year-ago period, with declines to all of the major regions. The year-to-date shipment-to-capacity rate was 89%, decreasing from 92% from January through May 2013.

In a research note today, RBC Capital Markets paper and forest products industry analyst Paul Quinn said the statistics released today were “slightly positive.” He said the 26 days of softwood pulp stocks were below balanced market levels, which he described as ~30 days, while hardwood pulp stocks, at 48 days, were above balanced levels (~39 days).

Quinn said the five-year average for May stocks is 27 days for softwood and 37 days for hardwood.

Also in a research note today regarding the World 20 results, paper and forest products industry analyst Sean Steuart commented that the overall tone in global pulp markets “has been incrementally more positive over the past month, in part due to supplies being kept in check from downtime related to maintenance and production disruptions.”

Figures by grade. The May 2014 deliveries of bleached softwood kraft pulp (BSKP) inched up 0.1% over May 2013, to 1.886 million tonnes and they rose 1.2% over those of April 2014. The shipment-to-capacity rate was 93%, the same as year ago. The year-to-date shipments of 9.259 million tonnes dropped 0.5% from the first five months of 2013.

For May 2014, the shipment-to-capacity rate included 90% for northern bleached softwood kraft (NBSK), the same as a year ago (shipments rose 0.7% from a year ago), 92% for southern bleached softwood kraft (SBSK), down from 100% in May 2013 (shipments declined 6.8%), and 104% for bleached radiata kraft pulp (BRKP), up from 95% a year ago (shipments jumped 12.8% year-over-year).

There were year-over-year BSKP decreases in deliveries to North America (-7.7%), Western Europe (-1.3%), Latin America (-5.6%), and Japan (-8.8%), but increases to China (5.6%) and Other Asia (6.5%).

Bleached hardwood kraft pulp (BHKP) deliveries of 1.721 million tonnes in May 2014 rose 3.9% year-over-year and 5.2% month-over-month. The shipment-to-capacity rate was 86%, down from 87% in May 2013. BHKP deliveries from January-through-May 2014 of 8.160 million tonnes were down 1.3% from the year-ago period.

The May 2014 hardwood pulp shipment-to-capacity ratio included 87% for bleached eucalyptus kraft pulp (BEKP), the same as in May 2013 (shipments rose 9.5% from a year ago). The shipment-to-capacity rate for northern bleached hardwood kraft (NBHK) was 84%, down from 88% a year earlier (shipments declined 5.2% year-over-year). The rate for southern bleached hardwood kraft (SBHK) sank to 70% in May 2014 from 94% in May 2013 (shipments dropped 31.4%).

There were decreases in deliveries to North America (-4.3%) Japan (-23.8%), and Latin America (-8.1%) but increases to Western Europe (6.8%), China (10.7%), and Other Asia/Africa (13.6%).

In May 2014, unbleached kraft pulp (UKP) producers shipped 128,000 tonnes, up 0.4% from May 2013 and unchanged from April 2014. The shipment-to-capacity rate was 95% in May of both years. The year-to-date figure was 621,000 tonnes, up 1.0%.

Sulfite pulp producers shipped 2,000 tonnes in May 2014, double the 1,000 tonnes in May 2013 but flat compared to April 2014. The shipment-to-capacity rate was 97%, compared to just 59% a year earlier. So far this year they shipped 11,000 tonnes, falling from 13,000 tonnes in the first five months of 2013.

Days details. In May 2014, the seasonally adjusted calculation showed total stocks at 38 days, the same as in April and March. In May 2013, the total was 34 days.

Softwood sulfate pulp stocks fell one day to 27 days in May 2014 from 28 days in both April and March, and there were also 28 days in May 2013, according to the seasonally adjusted calculation.

In May 2014, hardwood sulfate pulp stocks reached the 50-day mark, up from 49 days in April and March, and compared to 42 days in May 2013, according to the seasonally adjusted calculation.

Raw data. Regarding the raw data, the PPPC said the April 2014 total producer inventory figure was 4.460 million tonnes, up 29,000 tonnes from March 2014’s (revised) 4.431 million tonnes.

The May 2013 figure was 4.098 million tonnes, up 30,000 tonnes from April 2013’s 4.068 million tonnes.

Monthly inventory data (in tonnes) is reported with a 30-day lag, as is monthly production data.

Shipments to regions. In May 2014, pulp producers delivered 635,000 tonnes to North America, declining 6.0% from May 2013 but rising 3.8% from April 2014. For the first five months of 2014, they shipped 3.040 million tonnes, falling 3.0% from the first five months of 2013.

The May 2014 deliveries to Western Europe totaled 1.186 million tonne, increasing 2.4% from May 2013 and 0.1% from April 2014. Deliveries so far this year reached 5.895 million tonnes, declining 1.5%.

Producers delivered 806,000 tonnes to China in May 2014, for a 7.4% increase from May 2013 but a 1.3% decline from April 2014. They delivered 317,000 tonnes of bleached hardwood sulfate pulp, up 10.7% year-over-year, and 462,000 tonnes of bleached softwood sulfate pulp, up 5.6%.

China accounted for 21.6% of the month’s World 20 shipments in May 2014.

Cumulative shipments to China have reached 4.048 million tonnes, falling 0.5% from the year-ago period.

Other Asia/Africa received 558,000 tonnes in May 2014, increasing 8.9% year-over-year and 20.0% month-over-month. The five-month total was 2.331 million tonnes, down 0.4%.

Producers delivered 147,000 tonnes to Japan in May 2014, for decreases of 13.5% year-over-year and of 9.8% month-over-month. The year-to-date total of 812,000 tonnes was down 1.4%.

In May 2014, Latin America received 275,000 tonnes, declining 6.8% year-over-year but increasing 2.2% month-over-month. The January-through-May total was 1.323 million tonnes, falling 0.3% from the year-ago period.

Shipments in May 2014 to Eastern Europe totaled 108,000 tonnes, increasing 26.6% from a year ago and 17.4% from a month ago. The year-to-date total was 476,000 tonnes, moving up 15.8%.

Oceania received 23,000 tonnes in May 2014, up from 22,000 tonnes in May 2013 but down from 27,000 tonnes in April 2014. The total so far this year was 127,000 tonnes, for an increase of 9.3%.

World 20. The world pulp figures are sometimes referred to as the "World 20," representing 80% of world capacity and including the stocks of Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Uruguay, and the U.S.

The days-of-supply calculations include stocks of bleached softwood sulfate, bleached hardwood sulfate, unbleached sulfate, and sulfite.

The monthly world figures do not represent 100% of world capacity because they do not include stocks for the major producing countries of Portugal, Indonesia, and Russia, or those for Thailand, Taiwan, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.

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