Total printing-writing paper shipments down 13 percent

According to the American Forest & Paper Association’s October 2008 Printing-Writing Report, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 12.7 percent in October compared to October 2007. The October year-ago decline is the largest year-ago decline this year, followed by an 11.2 percent decline in August. United States purchases of printing-writing papers dropped 14.1 percent in October versus a year ago. Total printing-writing paper inventory levels remained essentially flat, decreasing 300 tons from September.

Uncoated mechanical (UM) shipments declined for a second consecutive month following eight consecutive months of increases. UM shipments decreased 2.5 percent when compared to October 2007. UM shipments have had six months of double-digit increases, two months of single-digit increases, and now two consecutive months of slight declines. United States purchases of UM are down 8.1 percent when compared to October 2007. UM inventories decreased 9.7 percent, or 8,900 tons, from September, the lowest inventory level of the year.

Uncoated free sheet (UFS) shipments decreased for a tenth consecutive month. UFS shipments fell 10.7 percent compared to October 2007, on the heels of nine year-ago declines. The latest decline is the third double-digit decline for the year, which leaves this year 6.7 percent below last year. United States purchases of UFS were also down, declining 9.5 percent when compared to October 2007. UFS inventories decreased 0.2 percent compared to last month, a drop of 2,000 tons.

Coated free sheet (CFS) shipments register a second double-digit decline for the year. CFS shipments dropped by 15.4 percent compared to October 2007. The decline is the largest in a series of year-ago declines as all of 2008 has trailed 2007 thus far, putting year-to-date shipments down 7.3 percent. United States purchases of CFS decreased 20.6 percent compared to last October. CFS inventories decreased 0.5 percent compared to September, a decrease of 2,300 tons.

Coated mechanical (CM) shipments decreased the most in October, its sixth consecutive decline. CM shipments fell 19.4 percent when compared to October 2007. In spite of the large year-ago decline, year-to-date shipments are down 5.9 percent compared to last year. United States purchases of CM were down 23.0 percent compared to October 2007. CM inventories increased 3.7 percent, or 9,900 tons, from last month.