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World pulp shipments down 4.2% compared with last year: PPPC

April 23, 2009  By Pulp & Paper Canada

Global chemical paper-grade market pulp shipments continued to be lower than a year earlier, falling by 4.2% to 3…

Global chemical paper-grade market pulp shipments continued to be lower than a year earlier, falling by 4.2% to 3.464 million tonnes in March, according to statistics released today by the Pulp and Paper Products Council (PPPC) in Montreal. However, the decline was much less than February and January’s respective figures of 10.4% and 12.4%.
The PPPC said record shipments to China helped offset an 18% drop to other markets and to help push the overall shipment-to-capacity ratio back above 90% for only the second time since June.
The March shipment-to-capacity rate was 92% (the PPPC says 94% when adjusting for idled capacity), compared to 88% in February and 76% in January. The March 2009 rate is the same as March 2008’s 92%. The PPPC said the results were quite mixed by subgrade, noting that bleached eucalyptus kraft (BEK) pulp and bleached radiata pine pulp shipped at 108%, while other subgrades combined shipped at an average 84% (adjusted).
Thanks to shipments to the shipments to China, producers also saw a decrease in days of supply in March 2009, to 43 days, from 47 days in February and 50 days in January, using the standard calculation. The March 2008 figure was 34 days.
China was the only region showing a year-over-year increase in demand, while several other key regions–North America, Western Europe, and Japan–had double-digit percentage reductions, continuing an ongoing pattern of late. The PPPC noted that in the past few years, China has accounted for roughly 11% of all World-20 deliveries and that in the last four months or so, that figure has increased to almost a quarter.
Year-over-year March shipments of bleached softwood kraft pulp (BSKP) fell by 9.1%, to 1.626 million tonnes, but they rose by 8.8% from February 2009. Northern bleached softwood kraft (NBSK) shipments were down 18.1% and southern bleached softwood kraft (SBSK) fell by 3.9%, while radiata pine pulp rose by 18.0%.
March bleached hardwood kraft pulp (BHKP) shipments of 1.693 million tonnes rose by 0.6% from a year ago and by 17.9% over February. Northern bleached hardwood kraft shipments (NBHK) rose by 28.6% and BEK increased by 17.1%, while southern bleached hardwood kraft (SBHK) fell by 37.3%.


The world pulp figures are sometimes referred to as the “World 20,” representing 80% of world capacity and including the stocks of Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Uruguay, and the U.S.


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