Bureau of International Recycling Reports on Fourth Quarter Paper Market

Brussels, Belgium - The Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has issued its fourth-quarter market report for North America.

United States

The market has been dominated over recent months by shipping difficulties. The U.S. West Coast strike ended in early November but continued to cause havoc throughout the remainder of 2002. Shipping lines have been unable to catch up on the import backlog, leading to a shortage of containers for export and also congestion on the piers.

In the recovered paper market, mills have managed to push down the price of mixed paper despite continued strong demand from China and from domestic mills. News grade demand and prices had remained stable until recently, but the lack of containers and a reduction in orders from Asia during a period of increased production ultimately led to a price drop in December.

Increased production and a drop in demand from Asia have helped to push down the price of OCC. Domestic demand also fell as mills prepared for their holiday shutdowns. Most people expect the OCC price to increase again in the New Year as a result of increased demand from Asia and of reduced collections following the holiday buying season.

Deinking remains the strongest recovered paper sector. Both export and domestic demand are healthy, but supply has fallen as printers take year-end downtime. Meanwhile, pulp substitutes have remained stable despite reports of pulp price reductions. Excellent domestic demand has been bolstered by steady movements to Europe, India and Bangladesh.