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Pulp Prices Up, Paper Continues to Struggle

July 31, 2009 - While July pricing in advertising-linked papers was rough, markets for virtually all packaging niches held stable, according to Deutsche Bank analyst Mark Wilde.

Prices for Newsprint and Coated Paper fell sharply — the result of sharp declines in consumption as well as fall-out from the AbitibtiBowater bankruptcy, Wilde said.

Domestic prices for Containerboard were flat for second month in a row. Most other paperboard grades were stable.

COATED PAPER

As dismal as the falling Coated Paper prices appear in the trade papers, the market may be reaching an inflection point, Wilde said.

"We are picking-up some hints that the market may be bottoming. Some sources in the merchant community report a recent pick-up in customer inquiries for LWC. With relatively lean inventories in many markets, one merchant noted that a sharp snap-back in the market would not be surprising," he said

MARKET PULP

Pulp prices continue their rally. North American NBSK list price rose for the second month in a row — up $40 per metric ton to $700/mton, Wilde said.

Wilde pointed to the sharp decline in worldwide inventories, extensive downtime and closures, and continued strong demand in China, as factors driving producers to the recently announced price hikes across all regions.

Rising list prices are only part of the story, Wilde notes. "Brokers are also reporting that the discounts from "list" on spot sales are shrinking dramatically — providing an extra boost (as much as 1000-2000bps) to net realizations," he said

SOURCE: Deutsche Bank (Mark Wilde)




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