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Decline in North American Newsprint Production Slows in June, as Exports Continue to Gain

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Decline in North American Newsprint Production Slows in June, as Exports Continue to Gain

Article excerpt

North American newsprint production totaled 934,000 tonnes in June, off just 2.1% from a year ago. This helped reduce from a month earlier, the year-over-year drop in first-half production (5.7 million tonnes) to 4.7%, according to the latest report from the Pulp and Paper Products Council (PPPC).

Exports played a major part in boosting North American newsprint output, with overseas shipments in June totaling 230,000 tonnes, up 23.0% from last June. This brought the year-to-date total to nearly 1.2 million tonnes, up 8.6% year-over-year.

Chip Dillon, industry analyst with Citigroup, said June's exports were the highest for any month in over two years.

All overseas destinations were ahead of a year ago in June, except for a slight 0.2% decline in deliveries to Latin America. The biggest jump was to Western Europe, which nearly doubled. Non-Japan Asia was up a healthy 16.1%.

Through the year's first six months, North American newsprint exports remain down from a year earlier to Latin America (down 5.8%), Japan (down 11.2%) and non-Japan Asia (down 2.6%), but are ahead for Western Europe (up 74.9%) and "Other" (up 9.2%), the PPPC reported.

North American newsprint mills operated at 95% in June, up 1% from a year ago, but through first-half 2007 vs 2006, the operation rate lost 1%, to 94%. In June, U.S. mills ran at 98% vs 94% last June, but Canadian mills were down 1% to 93%.

North American newsprint mills were able to reduce inventories by 10,000 tonnes in June, ending the month with 459,000 tonnes on hand, which was still 141,000 tonnes higher than a year earlier. Canadian mills shed 12,000 tonnes of inventory in June, while U.S mills gained 2,000 tonnes.

For consumers, inventories are still low compared to a year earlier. All U.S. users reduced stocks by 3,000 tonnes in June, to end the month 96,000 tonnes lower than a year earlier. …

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