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Paper Market Update | February 2024

European Graphic Paper Producers Close Almost 4 Million Tonnes of Capacity in '22-'23

In response to declining graphic paper demand, European producers have shifted aggressively towards packaging grades over the last two years. European graphic paper demand decreased by 10.2% in 2022, then plummeted by 24% in the first 11 months of 2023. This led to significant capacity reductions via closures and conversions. Additionally, uncoated mechanical paper capacity dropped by 810,000 tonnes in 2023. Woodfree paper production also saw a decrease with 1.4 million tonnes per year cut between 2022 and 2023. Despite these measures, more capacity cuts may be needed for mills to balance supply and demand.

N.A. Paper Demand Update

The North American printing & writing paper (P&W) market lurched into the end of 2023. Although demand began to recover from its weakest levels in late summer and into autumn, December demand came in 7% below its October level. For coated papers in particular, this drop emphasizes the downside risks to RISI’s P&W forecast, which has been calling for a substantial recovery in 2024 as destocking headwinds ease. (RISI)

Quad to Close Two Print Facilities

Quad Graphics announced that it will cease operations at its Saratoga Springs, New York and Bolingbrook, Illinois facilities in the first half of 2024 as part of the company’s ongoing strategy to optimize its platform. Quad said the decision to close was due to industry trends including the volume of certain print categories such as magazines and increase in postal costs. The company is set to close the Saratoga Springs plant by May 4.

China Aggressively Expanding Capacity for Uncoated Fine Paper

Nine Dragons Paper recently launched a 550,000 MT per year UFP machine (PM 50) in Beihai City, capable of producing basis weights of 50-100 lb. This follows the January reactivation of Shandong Huatai Paper's PM 11 in Dongying, now with the capacity to produce 520,000 MT per year of UFP. The aggressive growth in China's UFP sector began in earnest in 2023 with the addition of 1.73 million MT per year of capacity. The trend continues with plans for an additional 2 million MT per year capacity by the end of 2025, marking a substantial growth phase for the Chinese UFP industry.

Demand and Operating Rate Forecasts (RISI)


U.S. Economy and Paper End-Us Indicators


N.A. Coated Paper Demand and Shipments   |   N.A. P&W Paper Producer Inventories