• Pulp prices broadly stable in Europe and China, while further ground was gained in the US (+3%): Eldorado’s first quarter results revealed a 17% year-on-year increase in pulp volumes sold, although there was a 4% decrease quarter-on-quarter. The company highlighted robust demand in Asia, tight supply conditions in Europe, and strong tissue markets supporting the market in North America. Citing an unbalanced pulp market, Eldorado, APRIL, and Bracell have announced a $30/ton price increase for BEK pulp in Asia starting in Additionally, Bracell has confirmed that it will switch one production line at its Sao Paulo mill to DWP in August, to be supplied to Sateri (part of the RGE Group in China). This change will reduce BHK supply by approximately 140,000 tons. PPPC statistics for April revealed an increase in days of supply to 42 days (+1-day month-over-month), with shipments rising by 4% year-over-year. However, shipments dropped by 14% month-over-month due to a significant decrease in deliveries to China (-12% year-over-year and -26% month-over-month). The shipments-to-capacity ratio averaged 81% in April, consistent with the previous year, but down from 92% in March.
  • Mixed moves for textile prices this week: The ICE cotton contract softened by 2%, while VSF held its ground and polyester increased by 1%. This week, the VSF market remained steady as both upstream and downstream sectors focused on fulfilling orders. The VSF operating rate slumped to 79% from 84% last week due to maintenance at some Xinjiang-based units. Meanwhile, VSF inventory days decreased to 12 from 13, and the theoretical VSF margin for Chinese producers stayed constant at -$92/ton.
  • The dissolving pulp market was largely stable this week: The operating rate of Chinese dissolving pulp mills remained stable, while the procurement tempo of VSF plants slowed as more lines shut down for maintenance. The spot price for imported hardwood dissolving pulp (DP) stayed constant at $940/ton, with a DP/pulp spread of $224/ton. Meanwhile, the domestic DP price was ¥7,660/ton ($1,058/ton), reflecting a $118/ton premium over imports. In other news, Altri’s first quarter results indicated improved profitability and an optimistic outlook for the second quarter, driven by strong demand and improved pricing. Regarding their Gama project in Spain, which aims to construct a greenfield DWP and sustainable textile fibres facility, the company is still in the process of obtaining an integrated environmental license, essential for making the final investment decision (FID).
  • Graphic paper prices still stable: AF&PA statistics for April confirmed a continued recovery in graphic paper shipments in the US compared to the previous year. All grades showed positive growth: coated freesheet (CFS) increased by 22%, coated mechanical (CM) by 25%, and uncoated freesheet (UFS) by 9%.
  • Further momentum for containerboard producers: Testliner prices experienced a significant jump of 4%, while kraftliner remained flat. Despite OCC’s continued upward trajectory, rising by 3% week-over-week to reach €144/ton (now up 44% year-to-date), the testliner converting margin showed improvement. In other news, Niederauer Mühle is aiming for a €40/ton increase in white-top testliner prices effective from June 1. The company, with a nameplate capacity of approximately 300,000 tons per year, is based in Germany. Meanwhile in Brazil, Empapel’s statistics for April revealed a notable 12% year-on-year increase in corrugated shipments.
  • The April Packaging Papers statistics from the US offer a positive read-through for sack kraft: April statistics revealed a significant 21% year-on-year increase in total packaging papers and specialty packaging shipments, with a corresponding 11% year-to-date increase. Additionally, the operating rate for unbleached paper producers surged to 94%, a notable increase from 78% in April 2023.

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