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AF&PA: U.S. paper shipments down in all categories in July

August 21, 2019  By American Forest & Paper Association

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) says shipments of packaging papers and specialty packaging, containerboard, boxboard and printing-writing papers in the U.S are down across the board in its July 2019 industry reports.

Packaging papers and specialty packaging

Total packaging papers shipments were down 13 per cent from July 2018 and down 4.6 per cent year-to-date. Bag and sack shipments were down 3.1 per cent year-to-date; multiwall shipments were down 11.8 per cent; food wrapping shipments were up 4.1 per cent; and converting shipments were down 7.1 per cent. The operating rate for July dropped to 81.6 per cent compared to 86.2 per cent in June. Inventory levels decreased one per cent from June.


Containerboard production in July 2019 decreased 7.8 per cent compared to July 2018 and was down 5.3 per cent year-to-date. The average daily production compared to June 2019 was 2.5 per cent higher.


The containerboard operating rate increased from 89.1 per cent in June to 89.9 per cent. While the total linerboard rate increased to 88 per cent, it has been below 90 per cent in five out of seven months this year. The July total operating rate was 8.7 points lower than the same month last year and the year-to-date operating rate was down 6.6 points. Production for export, most of which is linerboard, was down 18.3 per cent month-over-month and was down 18.5 per cent year-to-date.


Total boxboard monthly production decreased one per cent when compared to July 2018. The total boxboard operating rate was 93.8 per cent for July. Total solid bleached boxboard and liner production decreased 0.9 per cent year to date; recycled boxboard production fell one per cent year to date; and unbleached kraft and gypsum decreased 0.5 per cent year to date.

Printing-writing papers

According to the July 2019 Printing-Writing Monthly report from AF&PA, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 12 per cent in July compared to July 2018. U.S. purchases of total printing-writing papers declined seven per cent in July compared to the same month last year. Total printing-writing paper inventory levels decreased one per cent from June 2019.

U.S. shipments of coated free sheet (CFS) paper decreased 15 per cent in July from the same month one year ago. The inventory level of CFS papers remained flat in July compared to June. CFS imports and exports both declined in June 2019.

U.S. purchases of coated mechanical (CM) papers increased five per cent in July when compared to July 2018. Inventories decreased three per cent compared to last month. Imports of CM papers in June 2019 increased 16 per cent while exports decreased ten per cent.

U.S. shipments of uncoated free sheet (UFS) papers decreased 11 per cent year-over-year in July while U.S. purchases of uncoated mechanical (UM) paper decreased nine per cent. Inventory levels at the end of July when compared to June decreased for both UFS and UM papers. In June exports of UFS and UM both decreased year-over-year, while UFS imports increased and UM imports decreased.

The complete reports with detailed tables, charts and historical data can be purchased via Statistics_Publications@afandpa.org or by calling 202-463-4716.

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