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Huge European Pulp&Paper closures expected in 2010?

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA, Okt. 23, 2009 (Viewpoint) - North American coated paper markets have come a long way toward closing the gaping hole between supply and demand that opened up as a result of the collapse in magazines and catalogs. A gap of more than 2.0 million tons (annualized) opened up between actual capacity and the normal level of capacity that would be needed to support a 95% operating rate in North America. Producers coped with this problem by shutting even more capacity and taking massive amounts of downtime at their remaining mills.

The supply gap is now closing thanks to a partial recovery in demand combined with capacity shuts and shifts to other grades. In fact, the PPPC recently reported that operating rates in North America during September were at 99% for coated freesheet and 95% for coated mechanical. The market will never return to its previous levels of demand, but it has come back to some degree because buyers are no longer reducing inventory as they were earlier in the year. September may have been a bit of a fluke and operating rates will not stay at 95-99% for long, but the fact remains that much of the oversupply is now gone. Operating rates were in the low 70s earlier in 2009.

We have estimated that for coated mechanical, the current capacity base is 4.5 million tons, and for coated freesheet the current capacity base is 4.4 million tons, which includes 568,000 tons of coated Bristol capacity. In order to maintain a 95% operating rate, we only need to shut a further 100,000 tons to 150,000 tons of coated mechanical capacity and a further 400,000 tons of coated freesheet capacity. This latter number may end up being less if large tariffs are placed on Chinese and Indonesian coated freesheet paper and cause much of this tonnage to go away (the subject for another RISI Viewpoint later this year). These shuts may be announced in early 2010 if rescinded black liquor credits make it difficult for some marginal mills to survive.

The story in Europe is completely different. Primarily because of a huge collapse in exports, European mills have a much larger oversupply situation to deal with. The capacity closures in 2009 have been small compared to the drop in demand, only 150,000 tonnes of closure for coated mechanical (Plattling) and 400,000 tonnes for coated freesheet with various closures in Spain and Sweden. This led to European operating rates that also dropped into the low 70s, but they have yet to return to the upper 90s as North America did in September. In fact, the market needsto have about 1.5 million tonnes of further shuts in coated mechanical and 1.0 million tonnes of further shuts in coated freesheet to even come close to balancing the market. This assumes no miraculous recovery in exports, which seems like a safe assumption given the strength of the euro. In fact, we expect the Chinese to begin exporting more to the European market in 2010 and 2011 because of the new capacity in China and the problems that may arise with tariffs into the US market. Thus, there will be no easy fix for the coated paper oversupply in Europe in 2010 and it will be a very difficult environment for the selling side of the market.

John Maine, RISI Vice President for World Graphic Papers and author of the monthly Paper Trader, works out of RISI's Charlottesville, VA, office.


Issued by:  RISI

Author:  John Maine


Issue date: October 19, 2009

Link to Article: Origin of text

Sappi may close 210 000-t/y mill in Finland

With an apparent overcapacity of coated magazine paper in Europe, paper and pulp producer Sappi’s Finnish subsidiary, Finland I Oy, was looking at ways to improve the company’s profitability, which could involve the permanent closure of the 210 000-t/y Kangas mill.

The paper producer said that the mill had already taken a continued level of downtime, which was no longer considered to be viable, necessitating a review of production capacity.

Sappi would enter into a consultation process with Kangas mill employee representatives regarding the review.

It noted that possible redundancies at the mill, which employed about 150 people, could be implemented by the end of this year.

In the event that the mill was permanently closed, production of the Galerie Silk range would be supplied to customers from the Lanaken mill, in Belgium.

A complementary grade, Galerie Fine Silk, would also be launched at the Kirkniemi mill, in Finland, which would widen the product offering of coated magazine paper, while ensuring that there is no supply interruption.


Issued by:  Engineering News



Issue date: October 22, 2009

Link to Article: Origin of text


Extpub | by Dr. Radut