US production of paper and paperboard drops 2.1% year-over-year in May, on 92.1% operating rate; output declines 5.7% for paper but rises 0.2% for paperboard: AF&PA

LOS ANGELES , June 30, 2014 () – The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) released its May 2014 Monthly Statistics of Paper, Paperboard & Wood Pulp today.

The total production of paper and paperboard fell 2.1% in May 2014 from May 2013.

The production of paper in May 2014 declined 5.7% year-over-year on an operating rate of 86.4%, falling from 87.3% in May 2013. Year-to-date output was down 5.2%, on an 88.5% operating rate, falling from January-through-May 2013’s rate of 89.0%.

The output of paperboard increased 0.2% year-over-year in May 2014, on an operating rate of 96.0%, which was ahead of May 2013’s 95.7% rate. Year-to-date production grew 0.6% on an operating rate of 94.6%, down from the 94.9% rate in the year-ago period.

For both paper and paperboard, the May 2014 operating rate was 92.1%, slightly off of May 2013’s 92.2%. The year-to-date production change was down 1.8%, on an operating rate of 92.1%, down from 92.4% in the first five months of 2013.

Note: The AF&PA revised the monthly paper production operating rates for every month shown in today’s release of statistics, which it shows back to May 2013, which also changed the total. (It did not revised the paperboard production statistics.) The rates are as follows for total paper and paperboard (respective total paper in parentheses): In 2014, April: 92.2% (89.9%) March: 93.0% (90.0%), February: 93.0% (89.6%), January: 90.5% (86.7%). In 2013, December: 88.6%(86.4%), November: 88.4% (85.0%), October: 93.0% (91.2%), September: 93.0% (90.7%), August: 94.2% (89.9%), July: 93.1% (88.5%), June: 93.1% (87.6%), May: 92.2% (87.3%).

Paper statistics. The output of printing and writing and related papers dropped 7.2% in May 2014 year-over-year and 5.1% year-to-date.

The only category in the positive ranks in May was uncoated groundwood (UCGW) papers, for the tenth consecutive month, with the exception of January 2014.

In May 2014, UCGW production was 7.9% ahead of that of May 2013, and for the first five months of 2014, it was 3.1% higher than that of the year-ago period.

(During 2013 a few of the printing and writing and related papers sectors had year-over-year positive results off and on, but in some months, none were positive. 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.)

The May 2014 production of uncoated freesheet (UFS) paper, which accounted for 48.0% of the month’s output of printing and writing and related papers, sank 10.4% from May 2013. For the first five months of 2014, UFS production dropped 8.0% from first five months of 2013. (For all of 2013, UFS output fell 1.9% from that of 2012.)

The May 2014 output of total coated papers dropped 6.2% from a year ago and it was down 2.9% year-to-date.

The May 2014 production of coated freesheet (CFS) papers fell 5.6% from a year ago and was down 1.4% year-to-date.

The May 2014 production of coated groundwood (CGW) paper was 7.0% lower than a year ago and 5.0% lower than in the first five months of 2013.

The May 2014 production in the small “other printing and writing papers” category—it accounted for 4.0% of the total printing-writing and related papers category during the month—declined fell 9.8% year-over-year and 6.9% year-to-date.

Tissue paper output in May 2014 dropped 0.7% from a year ago and the year-to-date output fell 1.7%.

The ever-declining production of newsprint sank 17.8% in May 2014 over May 2013, and so far this year it was down 19.1%.

The output of total packaging and other paper dropped 0.6% in May 2014 from a year ago. From January-through-May it was down 2.4%.

Breaking out the individual packaging and other paper categories, the May 2014 production of unbleached kraft papers increased 12.5% year-over-year and was up 6.1% year-to-date. The output of the specialty packaging and other papers sector, which accounted for 62.9% of the May 2014 output in the “total packaging and other paper” category, declined 1.5% year-over-year and 3.0% year-to-date.

The May 2014 output in the small bleached kraft papers sector fell 56.0% over May 2013 and it was down 45.1% so far this year.

Paperboard statistics. The May 2014 production in the containerboard category of the paperboard sector fell 0.5%, but the boxboard category had a 2.1% increase. Year-to-date both categories are up 0.6%.

In containerboard, the May 2014 output of total linerboard, which accounted for 72.0% of containerboard production for the month, was down 0.1%, but it rose 0.6% in the January-through-May period compared to the same months in 2013.

The production of corrugating medium declined 1.4% in May 2014 but it was up 0.5% so far this year.

In the boxboard sector, the May 2014 output of total folding boxboard rose 3.0% from a year ago but it declined 0.2% cumulatively.

The May 2014 output of unbleached kraft boxboard fell 1.9% from May 2013 and it was down 1.3% from the year-ago period.

The output of solid bleached boxboard increased 13.0% in May 2014 over May 2013 and so far this year it was up 1.6%.

The output of recycled boxboard in May 2014 was down 0.4% from a year ago and it fell 0.7% in the first five months of 2014.

In May 2014, the output of liquid packaging and food service boxboard was up 5.6% and cumulatively it increased 4.1%.

The output of “other” boxboard was down 2.6% in May 2014 from a year ago and it declined 0.9% so far this year.

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