Pulp costs are the main driver, but buyers try to put up more resistance
Woodfree uncoated paper suppliers to the Italian market succeeded in charging more again in April, even though demand has cooled palpably, especially for copy paper. In Italy, EUWID sources on both sides of the Italian market put the effective price hike at much less than the €30-40/t increase originally sought by manufacturers. Suppliers also had to make concessions on the timing of the actual hike, markets insiders in Italy report. Higher prices had reportedly not always applied as of the start or middle of April, but were also pushed back to May in certain cases.
Woodfree uncoated paper producers felt compelled to take action because of climbing pulp prices and adopted decisive approach in increasing their sales prices once again. However, sources told EUWID that major problems are still being encountered with passing on higher prices via merchants in Italy. Towards the end of April, several paper merchants stressed in conversations with EUWID that they had already agreed on additional mark-ups with their customers. Nonetheless, the wide range of different prices around on the market continues to suggest that old and new prices are still in circulation.
Prices also continue to be on the move on the market for woodfree graphic paper in France, where price hikes took effect in April, albeit not to the extent producers had wanted. Paper makers had been looking to implement a hike of €30-40 per tonne for woodfree uncoated paper, but market players report that the mark-up amounted to a maximum of €30 per tonne, many increases were smaller.
Higher raw material costs are not the only thing causing worry for producers. Transport and logistics in France have also become noticeably more expensive, they complain. One paper producer reported that their transport costs in France rose by 6% in March alone. A handful of players on the market say the current French rail strikes are intensifying their transport problems.
Producers supplying to France describe demand for uncoated woodfree paper in the first three months of the year as good to very good. Order intake eased up somewhat in April, but this was just the normal seasonal change in demand, according to manufacturers.