In May, the European markets for hardwood and softwood pulp are shaped by price talks. Industry experts believe that producers of both grades could find it difficult to get European converters to accept their asking prices in full.
After having left their prices unchanged for a month for the first time this year, leading producers of hardwood pulp have announced their intention to push through an increase of $40/metr.t. Word from the industry has it that stocks in Europe are too low for pulp converters to put up any great resistance to price hikes. Paper manufacturers are nonetheless taking the stronger US dollar as their argument to get the mark-ups down from $40 to $20/metr.t. The further reduction of the price difference between BEK and NBSK could also play a part in the negotiations and induce sellers to soften their tone.
European NBSK manufacturers are pressing ahead with their pricing plans from April, however, market players are being very guarded about the chances of their success. Various market observers see NBSK pulp prices under pressure in Europe. Low spot prices are apparently being charged even by big suppliers due to the lack of export volumes to China and the structural surplus capacity in the paper sector.
Different EUWID sources are working from the assumption that this could be the last round of pricing talks in this pulp cycle, after which summer could be rung in with stable prices and minor reductions.
⇒ Find this article in its entirety and any associated background information in EUWID Pulp and Paper no. 20
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