Industry Market Update

Updated: March 2018

Paper and other printing/publishing consumables markets have become increasingly challenging and difficult to navigate since the 3rd quarter of 2017. Newsprint and other paper markets have tightened up severely. All/most paper mills are not taking on any new business beyond current commitments to their existing customers. They also have their paper machines operating on strict supply allocations and order lead times are steadily increasing. Supply and demand imbalances continue to increase, along with persistent shortages and delayed paper orders for newsprint and other grades. Numerous factors have been contributing to this situation in the paper and transportation industries.

Paper prices continue to escalate at an alarming rate with no-end yet in sight. Potential to reach all-time historical high-levels in 2018.

News Flash

  • March 2018: The U.S. Dept. of Commerce (DOC) issued two preliminary decisions regarding newsprint and uncoated groundwood paper imports from Canada. If it is determined that these imports were sold at less than “fair market value”, the U.S. will impose anti-dumping ADD on shipments into the U.S.
  • March 2018: A preliminary decision in an anti-dumping case brought last summer by northwestern US producer NORPAC came from the Department on March 13. The DOC said it was ordering duties of varying percentages on Canadian newsprint suppliers.
  • January 2018: Assessments for tariffs from a related case to Canadian paper companies of varying percentages on countervailing subsidies.

Resource Library

Key Market Drivers

  • Paper: Higher newsprint prices this year are being caused by tight supply. Decreased productivity via machine shuts. 1.3 million tons of newsprint capacity was closed or idled in 2017, representing 23% of capacity. This has tightened the market considerably. Paper mill total production costs and operating rates for North America are forecasted to continue to increase in 2018. Wood pulp prices increased. Order lead times are out as far as 16 weeks.
  • USPS: The Postal Regulatory Commission is proposing a 40 percent hike in Periodical (and possibly other mail classifications) postal rates over the next five years. In most cases for those utilizing USPS as a distribution method…the mailing, postage and associated costs are a publisher’s 1st, 2nd or 3rd highest operating expense.
  • Ink: A variety of world-wide raw material trends have led to decreased availability and increased cost of many key components used to manufacture printing inks resulting in increasing ink prices.
  • Aluminum: Escalating costs of raw aluminum which will likely ultimately lead to increased printing plate prices.
  • US Dollar currency exchange: The euro is currently trending slightly upward (strengthening) at 1.23. The Canadian dollar is trending downward (weakening) at 0.77.
  • Transportation: Trucking & delivery issues continue to burden the nation, with load to driver ratios in the U.S. reaching worsening levels.

Paper Grade Price Increase Time-Line

  • May 2018: News (announced)
  • Apr 2018: News (announced)
  • Mar 2018: Offset
  • Mar 2018: News
  • Feb 2018: Hi-brite
  • Feb 2018: Offset
  • Jan 2018: News
  • Dec 2017: News
  • Oct 2017: News
  • Oct 2017: Hi-brite
  • Oct 2017: Offset

Our industry needs your support! Timing is critical. Let’s flood our representatives, Congress and The U.S. Dept of Commerce with phone calls, emails and letters urging strong opposition to the NORPAC ruling. We also need Postal Reform Now! The fate of our industry and hundreds of thousands of persons rests on theses decisions.

* All US printers & publishers could be in for a rough ride!

* Stay tuned and please check back periodically. We will continue to post updates as they become available.