U.S. Printing-Writing Paper Shipments Down in March

April 23, 2012 - According to the American Forest & Paper Association’s March 2012 Printing-Writing Paper Report, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 11% in March compared to March 2011. Three of the four major printing-writing grades posted double-digit decreases compared to last March, and the one single-digit decrease is the largest for that grade since 2009.

U.S. purchases (shipments + imports – exports) of printing-writing papers decreased 16% in March.

Total printing-writing paper inventory levels increased slightly, up just one percent compared to February 2012.

Additional key findings include:

  • March 2012 shipments of uncoated free sheet (UFS) papers were the only grade down less than double-digits. As a point of reference, March 2011 shipments of UFS were the highest since October 2008. UFS year-to-date shipments down two percent.
  • Shipments of coated free sheet (CFS) papers decreased year-over-year by a double-digit percentage for just the third time since 2009. CFS year-to-date shipments down four percent.
  • Compared to a very strong March 2011, coated mechanical (CM) paper shipments showed the greatest year-over-year decline of the four grades.
  • Uncoated mechanical (UM) paper purchases down sharply partly as a result of UM imports hitting their lowest level since February 1997.

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 $190 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.