• February price update: Pulp producers experienced a positive trend with prices rising by 6-8% in Europe and 4% in the US, although prices in China slightly decreased, with hardwood DP edging up by 2%. Conversely, graphic paper prices faced pressure, with most grades declining by 1-2%, while UWF paper prices remained stable. Packaging sector witnessed a softening as containerboard prices decreased by 1% across the board, and US solid bleached sulphate (SBS) board prices fell by 3%. Meanwhile, in the textile fibres market, VSF grades saw a 3% increase in prices, with inventory days rising by 6% to 12, while the VSF operating rate remained high at 89%.
  • Pulp prices continued to rise further this week in Europe: Suzano has announced further price increases for BEK pulp starting from March 1st, with a $30/t increase in China and an $80/t increase in Europe and North America. These price hikes are driven by lower inventories throughout the supply chain, particularly in Europe, compounded by ongoing logistical challenges affecting shipping routes. Additionally, there are preliminary positive indications of demand growth in Asia following the Lunar New Year. January’s Europulp statistics revealed an 8% m-o-m increase in wood pulp stocks at European ports, yet notably, these stocks were down 15% y-o-y. UTIPULP statistics confirmed a decline in European consumer pulp inventories by 8% m-o-m (+8% y-o-y), alongside a consumption increase of 9% m-o-m.
  • Since the Chinese New Year, cotton and VSF prices have rebounded: The VSF operating rate eased slightly to 84% as Shandong Yamei started to shut VSF lines for maintenance. Inventory days increased to 14.5 days, while the theoretical margin for Chinese VSF producers has improved to -$17/t. In other news, Renewcell has filed for bankruptcy. The company had developed a patented process that enables the recycling of cellulosic textile waste into a pristine new material called CIRCULOSE.
  • Following the Spring Festival, dissolving pulp prices generally increased, driven by the strong performance of the downstream sector: The spot imported hardwood DP is now $920/t, and the DP/pulp spread is $266/t. The domestic DP price has too increased, now trading at ¥7,500/t ($1,039/t, a $119/t premium to imports).
  • Mondi, Saica, Klingele, Smurfit Kappa, SCA, Hamburger, Heinzel and Billerud have announced price increases in the range of 10-12%, equal to €70-80/t: Testliner producers are aiming to implement price increases starting from March. Concurrently, kraftliner producers are planning to raise prices for virgin grades, with the adjustments expected to take effect from April onwards. Many of the companies concerned cited increased production costs and difficult profit margins as the reasons for the hikes, though some also pointed to improvements in demand.
  • Graphic paper prices in Europe continue to remain steady this week: The Navigator Company announced that it will increase the price of all UWF papers up to 5% in Europe from 25th March onwards. This price increase is mainly cost driven, coupled with a recovery in demand visible. In other news, Norske Skog’s PM6 (CM: 260Kt/yr) at its Saugbrugs mill will remain offline for the whole of 2024.
  • Packaging & Specialty producers (Sappi, Burgo & Lecta) too have their eyes set on price increases in the range of 8-10% from 1 April: In other news, Sappi has successfully produced and converted its new Parade Label WS wet-glue label paper in Gratkorn, Austria

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