U.S. Printing-Writing Paper Shipments Increased in February

March 14, 2012 - According to the American Forest & Paper Association's February 2012 U.S. Printing-Writing Preliminary Shipments Report, total printing-writing paper shipments increased two percent in February compared to February 2011. Three of the four major printing-writing grades posted increases compared to last February, though the one decrease was ten percent (for uncoated mechanical).

Free sheet paper shipments were up three percent when compared to last February, and are up by one percent year-to-date.

Uncoated free sheet (UFS) shipments posted a three percent increase when compared to last February, which more than offset the small decline in January, bringing year-to-date UFS shipments up one percent.

Coated free sheet (CFS) shipments also increased three percent. Combined with the slight increase in January, year-to-date shipments are up nearly one and a half percent.

AF&PA noted that on March 5, the U.S. Senate approved legislation with a voice vote to empower the Department of Commerce (DOC) to levy and collect countervailing duties on non-market economies (such as China). The U.S. House of Representatives approved the bill the next day and sent it to President Obama. The U.S. had imposed large anti-dumping and countervailing duties on some companies in China; others had smaller duties levied. But in December, a U.S. federal appeals court upheld a decision preventing the DOC from levying countervailing duties on non-market economies; this legislation will give the DOC the legal authority to impose those duties.

Mechanical paper shipments decreased by one percent when compared to last February, and for the year are down four percent. The culprit is uncoated mechanical (UM) paper shipments, which are down ten percent year-over-year. Since this decrease matches the decrease in January, year-to-date shipments are also down ten percent.

On the other hand, coated mechanical (CM) paper shipments increased the most out of the four grades, up four percent compared to last February. This strong growth was not quite enough to offset the five percent decrease last month, so year-to-date shipments are down one percent.

The American Forest & Paper Association (www.afandpa.org) is the national trade association of the forest products industry, representing pulp, paper, packaging and wood products manufacturers, and forest landowners.

The forest products industry accounts for approximately 5 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP. Industry companies produce about $175 billion in products annually and employ nearly 900,000 men and women, exceeding employment levels in the automotive, chemicals and plastics industries. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 48 states.