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The American Forest & Paper Association released its September U.S. paper reports.

Containerboard

Containerboard production was essentially flat compared to September 2016. The month-over-month average daily production compared to August 2017 was 3.8 percent lower. The containerboard operating rate for September decreased from 97.2 percent to 95.9 percent, which was 0.9 percentage points lower than last September.

Year-to-date production of containerboard for export is up 2.2 percent, with the September volume falling 13.6 percent below the same month last year.

Printing-Writing Paper Report

According to the September 2017 printing-writing monthly report from the American Forest & Paper Association, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased five percent in September compared to September 2016. All four of the major printing-writing grades posted year-over-year shipment declines. U.S. purchases of printing-writing papers also decreased, down six percent in September. Total printing-writing paper inventory levels increased one-half of one percent from August.

•September uncoated free sheet (UFS) paper shipments decreased year-over-year following the year-over-year increase in August. Imports of UFS decreased by 18 percent year-over-year in August – this follows two consecutive decreases of 20 percent or more. Meanwhile, exports of UFS papers increased 17 percent year-over-year in August, which follows three consecutive increases of 20 percent or more.

•Operating rate for coated free sheet (CFS) paper producers in September hits highest level since September 2016. U.S. imports of CFS papers decreased 9 percent year-over-year in August, the second consecutive year-over-year decline. Exports of CFS papers increased 6 percent year-over-year in August, the sixth increase in the past eight months.

•Coated mechanical (CM) paper shipments declined year-over-year in September for the fourth consecutive month. Imports of CM increased in August, up 7 percent compared to August 2016. Exports of CM also increased, up 28 percent in August to 35,700 tons – the highest level since November 2016.

•Shipments of uncoated mechanical (UM) papers have declined year-over-year in every month when compared to the same month in 2016. Imports of UM decreased 11 percent year-over-year in August while exports of UM increased 1 percent year-over-year in August – the fifth year-over-year increase in the first eight months of 2017.

Boxboard Report

Total boxboard production increased 3.3 percent when compared to September 2016, and decreased 6.3 percent from August.

Unbleached Kraft Boxboard production increased over the same month as last year but decreased compared to August.

Total Solid Bleached Boxboard & Liner production increased when compared to September 2016, but decreased compared to August.

The production of Recycled Boxboard increased compared to September 2016, but decreased when compared to last month.

U.S. Packaging Papers & Specialty Packaging

Total Packaging Papers shipments were 222,200 tons, 3.4 percent lower than September 2016. Bag & Sack shipments were up 3.8 percent year-to-date, while Food Wrapping shipments were down 7.8 percent over the same period. The operating rate for September 2017 was 87.9 percent, while the year-to-date rate was 88.7 percent. Inventories were 168,300 tons, down slightly since August.

Published in the December 2017 Edition of American Recycler News