Paper Price Indices Market Intelligence

*This report was last updated in Q4 2018. Please click on request customization if you are looking for an updated version of this report

Report Coverage

  • Paper – Supply Chain Events
  • Containerboard – Supply Chain Events
  • Price Table – Containerboard – US,Europe and South Asia

Production Size

Production Size North America

16.35 MMT

Production Size Europe

20.7 MMT

Production Size Latin America (LATAM)

4.5 MMT

Table of contents

  1. Paper Price Indices Coated and Uncoated Paper - Market Overview - US
  1. Paper Price Indices Coated and Uncoated Paper - Market Outlook - US
  1. Paper Price Indices Coated and Uncoated Paper - Market Overview - Asia
  1. Paper Price Indices Coated and Uncoated Paper - Market Outlook - Asia
  1. Paper Price Indices Coated and Uncoated Paper - Market Overview - Europe
  1. Paper Price Indices Coated and Uncoated Paper - Market Outlook - Europe

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Global Market Outlook on Paper Price Indices

Uncoated paper witnessed price increase for the third time in 2018

  • The Coated Freesheet (CFS) market has become less tight based on the supply–demand situation. Mill backlogs are moving pretty tight to comfortable. September and October 2018 are seasonally busy time, its not demand driving the market, but the lack of supply. Total CFS shipments decreased by 10.2% in August 2018 compared to a year ago. The US imports of CFS papers increased by 5.1% year-over-year in August 2018. Mill inventories of CFS decreased by 141,000 tons year-over-year in August 2018
  • The third price increase of 2018 was implemented in September 2018 for Uncoated Freesheet (UFS). The price increase was accepted everywhere, due to the 5% reduction in capacity in 2018, which has kept the supply tight and the demand being a bit about the guidance levels in Q3 2018. There was a 2% increase in September 2018 and the price now stays at 970 $/MT
  • Total printing–writing paper shipments decreased by 8% in August 2018 compared to the same time a year ago. Imports of printing–writing papers in June 2018 was 11% higher than the same time in 2017. The US imports of UFS papers decreased by 7.4% year-over-year in August 2018. Overall, domestic shipments of printing and writing paper in August 2018 declined 3.4% year-on-year

Forecasted Price

October 2018

Overheated coated paper cools off and hence price stability expected

  • Experts believe that the overheated coated paper market in North America will cool off during the winter months. It is expected that there might be room in the schedules for spot orders than it was the previous months. No further domestic capacity cuts are planned and with imported supply increasing and demand, erosion will likely accelerate in response to higher paper prices. Hence, prices are expected to stay stable in Q4 2018
  • Post the price increase in September 2018, UFS might witness a slight price increase in Q4 2018. The prices were increased, due to the rising costs, and there is no sign of the rise in pulp prices slowing down. Hence, a slight price increase can be expected in Q4 2018

Q4 2018

Supply likely to tighten in Q1 2019

  • It is expected that the supply will tighten again in early 2019, due to the conversion of 440,000 tons of light weight coated capacity in Italy the next year. Hence, prices are likely to increase in Q1 2019
  • Tight supply situation that is expected to continue until next year. Raw material prices are expected to decline during this period, which may not let paper prices climb up too high

Q1 2019

Stability in prices expected for coated and uncoated paper grades

  • The coated paper market is expected to remain steady during this period, however, tightness in supply is expected to persist
  • Prices are expected to increase and stabilize at about $1,021/ton during this period, owing to a strong pulp market

Coated and Uncoated Paper – Market Overview – Asia

Key Updates

Paper prices declined in Q3 2018, due to shifts in global trade

  • Paper prices in Southeast Asia remained down relative to June 2018 by the end of Q3 2018, with uncoated paper prices steeply decreasing in September 2018 to 865 $/MT from 915 $/MT in August 2018. Coated paper prices decreased as well in July 2018 from 835 $/MT to 805 $/MT in July 2018 and has been stable ever since. In both grades, decrease in demand helped to bring the prices down
  • Due to the US–China Trade War, there is uncertainty in the SEA market. A factor in high availability has been increasing fine paper sales in SEA from Japan. Domestic paper prices have fallen in Japan and paper and board companies are increasingly looking abroad to increase their business. Another factor, especially for uncoated grades, is the commissioning of new capacity in China, which has driven up offers in other Asian countries

Forecasted Price

October 2018

  • Experts believe that paper prices in Southeast Asia might experience a stability or small decrease in Q4 2018, due to high availability of paper
  • As for uncoated grades, Asia Pacific Resources International (April) and its Chinese subsidiary Asia Symbol have announced price increase of up to 30 $/MT for exports from Indonesia and China. Hence, prices of uncoated paper are expected to increase at least by 15 $/MT. This is due to the increasing pulp prices. Also, demand for uncoated paper grades in many key Asian markets are expected to increase in Q4 2018

Q4 2018

  • Demand for uncoated paper in China is expected to pick up in Q4 and the beginning on Q1 2019, due to the demand for UFP used in textbooks for the school semester early next year in China and India will see price increase in Q1 2019
  • The general election on April 17, 2019 in Indonesia is expected to boost consumption of the grade when the nationwide campaign kicks off. Hence, in Q1 2019, the prices are expected to increase

Q1 2019 

  • Post the price increase in Q1 2019, the prices of coated and uncoated grades are expected to remain stable until Q3 2019 when the seasonal demand kicks in

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