NBSK pulp in U.S. hits five-year high

NBSK pulp in U.S. hits five-year high

MARKET PULP

North American softwood kraft pulp prices moved up $20-$30/tonne in April, a month in which two major producers scheduled mill shutdowns and global stocks are expected to decline, RISI’s Pulp & Paper Week reported. The $30/tonne rise on benchmark northern bleached softwood kraft (NBSK) put the U.S. effective list price at $690/tonne-its highest level since $710/tonne in January 2001.

The rise in NBSK comes as paper and board producers in North America continue to face high costs for fiber, chemicals, transportation, and energy. Along with the rise on NBSK, southern bleached softwood kraft (SBSK) increased $20/tonne. Buyers, increasingly aware of the possibility that NBSK supplies could reach a shortage soon, put up little to no fight against higher prices, contacts said last month.

In hardwood kraft, prices were mixed as several North American producers shaved off the earlier discounts and in some cases got higher list prices. Northern bleached hardwood kraft (NBHK) edged up $5/tonne on price quotes that ranged widely depending on the species of NBHK, region, and buyer’s leverage, as well as the producer’s starting price.

Certain large-volume hardwood pulp buyers reported no increase in April, while some producers said that they had either fully implemented a hike that was supposed to be effective February 1 or a new April 1 increase.

Copyright Paperloop, Inc. May 2006

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