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Latest PIX Index Values With Comments: Pulp and Paper Europe

Latest PIX Index Values With Comments

Market Commentstoggle

Feb 23, 2011

Global chemical paper grade market pulp shipments in January/11 were 3.425 million tons, down by 13.9% from December/10 but up by 2.9% from January/10, at the delivery rate of 87% of the P.M.C. Inventories at the end of January/11 stood at 33 days, up by 3 days from the level in December/10. Source PPPC. (Feb 23)

Utipulp European pulp consumer December/10 figures; inventories 721 200 tons, up by 46 600 tons or 6.9% from November/10, and down by 41 000 tons or 5.4% from December/09. In days at 21 days of consumption, up by 1 day from November/10 but down by 3 days compared to a year ago. Consumption in December/10 totalled 905 900 tons, a decrease of 136 600 tons or 13.1% from November/10, and a decrease of 47 000 tons or 4.9% from December/09. Source: Utipulp (Jan 20)

Pulp inventories at European ports decreased in January/11 by 83 500 tons or 7.0% to 1 109 700 tons compared to December/10 inventories of 1 193 300 tons. Compared to January/10 the port inventories were higher in 2011 by 334 500 tons or by 43.1%. Source: Europulp (Feb 16)

Feb 22, 2011

US NBSKP – The US pulp market has remained firm with the help of the relatively healthy paper and paperboard supply/demand balance in spite of the uncertainties over the world economies and the changes in the printing and writing paper end-use sectors, especially in the North American markets. Increases in BSKP prices in the Asian market support the pricing also in the US. Our PIX NBSKP US index remained unchanged at 960.00 USD/ton.

US Newsprint – The North American newsprint market appears to have continued in a sluggish mode in January and February, according to market reviews. Although the December decline in newsprint consumption contracted from earlier months, the direction appears still to be downwards. The pricing front for newsprint has been calm lately, although some initiatives for price increase plans in March – April were elaborated recently. The PIX US Newsprint 30lb index remained at 626.91 USD/ton, and the 27.7 lb index at 669.72 USD/ton.

Feb 22, 2011

General economy: US as well as global economic news was tempered by the concerns over the political and economic stability of several countries in the Middle East & North Africa. Troubles risk raising the oil price and bringing down the economic growth. US economy is coming out of the recession, but the presently promising growth may not be sustainable. But the two key economic indicators from the government's point-of-view, employment and GDP, continue to show sluggish growth. If prices start moving up too fast, the Fed will need to act. Interest rate hike is probably far away, though, as unemployment stands at 9%. The Fed may actually be happy with the present inflation rate.

Europe – Financial markets are edgy also in Europe with tensions in North Africa and in Near & Middle East rising. Refugee risk adds to the more general worries. The combination of tepid economic growth and rising prices and wages could be lethal. On top of the Euro zone inflation reaching already 2.4%, emergency borrowing from the ECB has been on a rise, suggesting that either some major Euro-zone bank could soon face funding problems or the debt crisis is deepening, starting with Portugal.

Japan – Japan appears to be getting back on a positive growth after a negative GDP in Q4 2010. Private consumption was sinking towards the end of 2010 when several subsidies came to an end. But, the new stimulation programs also build the debt mountain even higher. The indebtedness is bringing Japan at a real "risk of collapse". Japan’s state of public finances is clearly the worst of any developed nation. Unless the income flows improve in a hurry, Japan needs to find a way to restructure its debts if it wants to avoid a Greece-style crisis. The EU could bail out Greece, at least for the time being. Who could afford to bail out Japan?

China – China's central bank announced last Friday that it would again tighten the reserve requirements. After three interest rate hikes in February alone, the lending rate stands at 6.06% and deposit rate at 3.0%. More rate rises are probably in the pipe-line until inflation is better under control. The risk, of course, is that excessively tough measures could cause the Chinese economy heading for a hard, rather than the desired soft, landing.

Paper industry – US and European paper demand growth has slowed down and some of the grades show declines to the corresponding period last year. Fortunately, the demand for paper in other markets, most notably in China and other Asia, is improving. China’s paper and paperboard production capacity will grow by over 3 million tons again this year. As most of that increase is actually starting (or already started) up during the 1st half, the supply/demand balance of paper risks weakening.In Europe, and especially in the US, publication and office papers are the most troubled ones. Tissue industry is still doing well also in these regions and the order books remain satisfactory also in packaging. In the US, the printing activity index is at its lowest levels ever. Newspaper and magazine ad pages showed a decline in 2010 over the already weak 2009 but direct mail activity improved towards the end of the year and is expected to do reasonably well also this year.

NBSK pulp Europe – Port stocks in Europe came down in January after the major hike seen in December. Softwood pulp market remains tight. Increasing volumes of BSKP are also used outside paper industry as an extender of the dissolving pulp which continues to be short of the present demand. More producers have announced price increases from March 1, typically by 30 USD/ton. The USD weakened last week by 0.8%, against the Euro. Our PIX NBSK index moved up by 55 US cents, or by 0.06%, and closed at 949.08 USD/ton. The index value in EUR turned down with the weakening of the USD against the EUR. The euro-value of NBSKP dropped by 4.90 euro, or 0.7%, with the index value now at 696.47 EUR/ton.

BHK pulp Europe – The BHKP market has stayed relatively stable in February in Europe if not however as firm as in softwood. Slower demand growth in woodfree papers is compensated by the positive performance in tissue and packaging. The 0.8% weakening of the USD against the EUR had a downward impact on the index in euro-terms. The PIX BHKP index in EUR dropped by 3.89 euro, or by 0.62%, to 622.34 EUR/ton. The PIX BHKP index value in USD increased by 1.15 USD, or 0.14%, and closed at 848.06 USD/ton.

BHK pulp China – The pulp markets in China do not seem to experience this year any similar slowdown due to the Spring Festivals in early February as in some previous years. The past and coming increases in paper and paperboard production capacity are the major cause for an increasing appetite for fibre. The local and Indonesian BHKP capacity increases will though still continue to add to the supply. The PIX BHKP China index moved this time up by 1.30 USD, or 0.17%, and closing at 747.12 USD/ton. Yuan strengthened last week by 0.3% against USD. The conversion of the USD value into the Yuan, led to a decrease of 8.65 RMB, or 0.18%, to 4908.56 RMB/ton.

Newsprint – The radical decline of newsprint prices a year ago has bothered the producers ever since, and many comments during the course of 2010 were uttered by various producers that the situation needs to be rectified. Typical targets mentioned for 2011 were to reach price levels that were in place before the big drop. The roughly 1.0% weakening of the EUR against the weighted basket of non-EMU currencies had a positive effect on the benchmark. The PIX Newsprint index advanced notably by 21.73 EUR, or by 4.76%, to 478.51 EUR/ton.

LWC – The price increase efforts of the producers have met with some success in January and February. The PIX LWC index of today is almost 35 EUR and a bold 5% above the level at the turn of the year. The business negotiations at the beginning of the year have advanced and the outcome has been tracked by our PIX LWC benchmark. An upward push to the index was presented by the 1.0% weakening of the EUR against the weighted basket of non-EMU currencies. The PIX LWC index moved up by 5.72 EUR, or 0.84%, to 686.79 EUR/ton.

Coated woodfree – Many producers of coated woodfree paper have indicated their need to improve the profitability of their paper products. Some companies are targeting price increases of about 8% as from March or April. The currency effect of a weakened EUR, by some 1.0% against the basket of non-EMU currencies impacted the index upwards. However, the PIX Coated woodfree index slid down minutely by 6 cents or 0.01%, settling at 719.28 EUR/ton.

Uncoated woodfree – The uncoated woodfree paper grades have seen profitability squeezing with, among others, raw material prices having surged in 2010 and remained at a relatively high level. New efforts to increase paper prices are in the pipeline, as new announcements for March from a fair number of producers have seen daylight. The 1.0% weakening of the EUR against the weighted basket of non-EMU currencies caused an upward force on the index. Despite of that the PIX A4 B-copy index dropped by 3.05 EUR, or by 0.36%, to 852.54 EUR/ton.

Containerboard Europe – The packaging sector continues to grow around the world. In Europe, containerboard demand has remained quite satisfactory and price increases have been implemented for recycled fibre based grades. Price increase announcements have been made for white-top kraftliners from March-April. Last week the exchange rate developments had a mixed impact on our packaging benchmarks as Euro strengthened by 0.8% against US-dollar but weakened by about 1.0% against the non-EMU currency basket. The PIX Kraftliner benchmark gained 28 cents, or 0.05% closing at 602.92 EUR/ton. The PIX White-top Kraftliner index increased by 1.22 euro, or 0.16%, settling at 748.27 EUR/ton. The February price increase efforts continued to show in our recycled fibre based benchmarks as the PIX Testliner 2 index went up by 2.46 euro, or by 0.54%, to 457.98 EUR/ton, the Testliner 3 benchmark gained 3.52 euro, or 0.8%, closing at 448.55 EUR/ton, and the PIX RB Fluting index increased by 2.21 euro, or by 0.5%, to 434.91 EUR/ton.

Recovered paper Europe – Business quieted down in China alongside with the downtimes related to the Lunar New Year celebrations in the first week of February. In Europe, RCP demand remains strong and supply tight. Our PIX OCC 1.04 dd price index continued its way upwards, although more moderately than in previous weeks, gaining 88 cents, or 0.64%, settling at 138.94 EUR/ton. As the related containerboard gained more, the differentials between OCC and them widened: against Testliner 2 the gap grew by 1.58 euro, to 319.04 EUR/ton, Testliner 3 by 2.64 euro to 309.61 EUR/ton and against RB Fluting by 1.33 euro, to 295.97 EUR/ton. Our ONP/OMG 1.11 dd index gained a moderate 8 cents, or 0.05%, closing at 160.37 EUR/ton. As the PIX Newsprint index soared, the differential grew as much as by 21.65 euro, to 318.14 EUR/ton.


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