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North American boxboard prices
remain under pressure with low demand
A mixture of inflation, destocking and a preference to eat out have impacted the prices of various paperboard grades.
Over the last eight months, contacts have been fairly optimistic that the North American boxboard market would pick back up by the second or third quarter this year following supply chain issues around surplus inventories and destocking, which began last year.
As the year has gone on, it has become clearer that there is pressure on a lack of demand for some paperboard grades. This year, uncoated recycled folding boxboard (URB), coated unbleached kraft board (CUK) and solid bleached sulfate board (SBS) folding carton paperboard have all seen their prices drop.
Industry contacts seem to think that coated recycled board (CRB) is safe from a price movement down because producers could simply take tonnage out of the market to keep it balanced, buyers have told Fastmarkets¡¯ PPI Pulp & Paper Week various times this year. However, one contact told P&PW on Aug. 17 that if demand continues to be slow, it will be difficult to hold CRB pricing. Another contact earlier this year even pinpointed several different CRB machines that could, for all intents and purposes, be quickly closed down by producers because of falling prices.
One analyst told P&PW that ¡°it¡¯s more expensive to give up price vs a small amount of tonnage, until you have to give up a lot of tonnage, then it may be worth (it) to give up the price.¡±
¡°We¡¯ll have to wait and see what happens in September,¡± another contact said.