JUNE 2009

Total printing-writing paper shipments down in March

According to the American Forest & Paper Association’s March 2009 Printing-Writing Paper Report, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 21.9 percent in March compared to March 2008. For the year to date, shipments were down 24.0 percent. United States purchases (shipments + imports – exports) of printing-writing papers dropped 22.8 percent in March versus year-ago and declined 24.1 percent for the year to date. Total printing-writing paper inventory levels decreased 37,100 tons from February.

Contraction of uncoated free sheet (UFS) for shipments slowed for a second consecutive month. UFS shipments were down 8.7 percent compared to March 2008, to 850,200 tons. In January, UFS shipments were down 19.6 percent, followed by a decline of 19.3 percent in February. Because of the earlier strong declines, for the year to date UFS shipments were 16.0 percent below last year. United States purchases of UFS were also down, declining 7.9 percent when compared to March 2008, as imports again exceeded exports. UFS inventories decreased 2.9 percent compared to last month, a decline of 32,300 tons.

Coated free sheet (CFS) shipments post double-digit decline for sixth consecutive month. CFS shipments dropped by 31.7 percent compared to March 2008, to 286,200 tons. For the year to date, shipments of CFS were down 27.8 percent. United States purchases of CFS decreased 31.1 percent compared to last March. CFS inventories decreased 1.8 percent compared to February, a decline of 11,500 tons.

Coated mechanical (CM) shipments again decreased the most in March. CM shipments fell 39.5 percent when compared to March 2008, settling in at 248,100 tons. Year to date shipments of CM were down 37.0 percent compared to last year. United States purchases of CM were down 39.8 percent compared to March 2008, and for the year to date were down 35.4 percent. CM inventories increased 3.2 percent, or 9,500 tons, from last month.

Uncoated mechanical (UM) shipments decline for a seventh consecutive month after reaching an all-time high in July 2008. UM shipments decreased 27.5 percent when compared to March 2008, to 135,200 tons, and for the year to date were down 30.6 percent. After hitting an all time high in July 2008, UM shipments increased compared to the prior year just one more time in August before the current pattern of decline began. United States purchases of UM were down 26.4 percent when compared to March 2008 and were down 26.0 percent for the year to date.UM inventories increased 13.4 percent, or 13,200 tons, from February.