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No relief on the way for paper prices

Wednesday, 03 April 2019
By Patrick Howard

No end in sight for high paper prices this year.

Printers expecting a reversal of the price hikes from last year are doomed to disappointment as industry bible Pulp & Paper Edge predicts they’ll hold steady at best or even rise again this year.

In the latest report from Pulp & Paper Edge, industry guru Tim Woods predicts that prices for printing and communication paper grades will not be going down in 2019, with importers and overseas mills feeling the squeeze from sustained input price pressures.

Tough conditions: Tim Woods, IndustryEdge.

“Paper producers, importers and merchants continue to subsidise paper prices for printers, as their contribution to dealing with tough market conditions.

“There is no simpler way to put the pricing situation,” he said.

Pulp and chip prices are set to remain high, according to Woods, with no relief in sight.

“After the big spike in global pulp prices recorded in 2018, the correction later in the year was expected by many to see prices tumble. That did not occur,” said Woods. “There is one thing we can assert confidently: those anticipating a pulp price crash should not hold their breath.”

Despite this, cost increases to the Australian printing industry have remained minimal, especially when compared to other manufacturing sectors.

“As pulp and chip prices increased over the last decade, the input costs to the printing sector in Australia increased only marginally,” said Woods. “Over the decade, the input costs to manufacturing in general rose 18.8 per cent, and those for the pulp, paper and paper products sector rose 8.3 per cent. For the printing sector, input costs were kept under tight control, rising just 2.1 per cent over the decade.”

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