The American Forest & Paper Association released its March U.S. paper reports.
Containerboard production increased 8.7 percent from February and was 3.8 percent higher compared to the same month last year. The month-over-month average daily production decreased 1.8 percent. Shipments for March were 2,958.2 thousand tons, representing 166.2 billion of square feet. The containerboard operating rate for March decreased 1.7 points from February, from 96.3 percent to 94.6 percent.
Total boxboard production increased 1.8 percent when compared to March 2013 and increased 9.3 percent from February. Unbleached kraft boxboard production increased over the same month last year and increased compared to February.
Total solid bleached boxboard and liner production increased compared to March 2013 and increased compared to February. The production of recycled boxboard stayed flat compared to March 2013 but increased when compared to February.
Total kraft paper shipments were 123.4 thousand tons, 1.5 percent higher compared to the prior month. Bleached kraft paper shipments were 17.3 percent higher than February, while unbleached kraft paper shipments were essentially flat. Overall, shipments for the first three months of 2014 were 5.3 percent lower than the same period last year. Total month-end inventories were also essentially flat compared to February.
Printing-Writing Paper Report
According to the report, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 2 percent in March compared to March 2013, with increases in year-over-year shipments in uncoated mechanical and coated freesheet grades.
•Uncoated free sheet paper shipments in March decreased 6 percent compared to March 2013. Year-to-date shipments are down 7 percent in 2014.
•March coated free sheet paper shipments increased 4 percent, the first year-over-year increase in eight months. Year-to-date shipments of coated freesheet grades are essentially flat compared to 2013.
•Uncoated mechanical paper shipments also increased 4 percent in March, the sixth year-over-year increase in the past seven months. Year-to-date shipments of uncoated mechanical paper are up 2 percent compared to 2013.
•Coated mechanical (CM) shipments in March decreased 4 percent compared to March 2013 to 237,000 tons. Imports of CM through February were down 9 percent relative to the same period in 2013.