Coated fine paper producers supplying the Polish market have finally spurred a turnaround in price talks and were able to implement a part of the announced price hike in April and May.
After months of stagnation and shrinking prices, the Polish woodfree coated paper market has been on the move again since April. Prices did not rise as much as announced but many companies still considered the outcome a success. With a very small number of exceptions, suppliers took a more disciplined approach than during previous attempts and claim to have stood firm in the face of opposition from merchants and printers up until now.
It was harder to raise reel prices than sheets, insiders said. In addition, most paper was covered by six-month contracts, meaning that prices often could not be altered until mid-year. Major printers are entering into talks about new contracts in June and do not want to accept higher prices without discussions. By that time, it would also be clear how much staying power higher sheet prices had, one market insider noted.
However, the round of price talks had not taken place without producers losing business, contacts agreed. Many were disappointed with slow business since April after a strong first quarter.