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Paper Market Update | January 2024

Sappi Lanaken Exits Paper Production

The last reel of paper at the Sappi Lanaken mill was produced on December 20, 2023, as Sappi Europe has ceased production at its paper mill in Belgium. Both paper machines PM 7 and PM 8 were stopped on December 20. Sappi Lanaken is an integrated pulp and paper mill with a production capacity of 165,000 tpy of bleached chemi-thermomechanical pulp (BCTMP) and up to 530,000 tpy of woodfree coated paper. (EUWID)

ProGroup to Take Over Sappi Stockstadt Mill; Convert Production to Containerboard

ProGroup announced that an agreement has been signed with Sappi whereby ProGroup will take over Sappi's Stockstadt pulp and paper mill in Germany. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Stockstadt Mill is an integrated pulp and paper mill with a production capacity of 220,000 tpy of coated and uncoated woodfree paper and 145,000 tpy of pulp (for internal use). In a press release, ProGroup said, "The site is set to be taken over in April 2024. The dismantling of the old facilities will then be planned and implemented. This step is needed to create space to implement the future site concept and will be completed during the course of 2025.” (PaperAge)

Conversion of Escanaba Paper Mill Stalled

The planned conversion of the Escanaba paper mill to produce carton board has stalled due to economic conditions, according to company officials. “The Transformation Program remains the company’s most important strategic growth opportunity,” said President, General Counsel for Billerud North America Kevin Kuznicki. “Given that the macroeconomic environment and operating conditions have changed dramatically over the past 12+ months, we need more time to evaluate alternatives for the most cost-effective way to manufacture carton board products at our Escanaba Mill.” Escanaba currently has the capacity to produce 198,000 st/y of coated freesheet and 264,000 st/y of coated groundwood paper.

The American Forest & Paper Association Issues Latest Report

According to the AF&PA, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 16% in November compared to November 2022. U.S. purchases of total printing-writing papers decreased 24% in November compared to the same month last year. Total printing-writing paper inventory levels remained essentially flat (+0.4%) when compared to October 2023. Individually, shipments in all three major P-W grades (UFS, CFS and MECH) in November decreased as well. Uncoated Free Sheet shipments decreased 10% when compared to November 2022, Coated Free Sheet shipments decreased 21% compared to the same period last year, and Mechanical papers shipments decreased 39% compared to the same period last year.


Demand and Operating Rate Forecasts (RISI)

Source: RISI


U.S. Economy and Paper End-Use Indicators

Source: IMF, RISI


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