Unbleached kraftliner has become more expensive in the UK in May. Buyers and manufacturers confirmed that prices had jumped by £25/t with effect from 1 May or 15 May. However, talks were still in progress in some cases. A few customers had again been guaranteed a credit if the market price altered by the month's end.
One producer noted that converters were putting up very strong opposition in the UK, meaning that talks were proving to be trickier than expected. Notwithstanding this fact, the market was described as largely balanced in May. Demand was not excessively strong, but there was a good balance, one producer remarked. One company is already planning to raise prices again by £15 or €20 for both the UK and mainland Europe in May or June.
Negotiations about charging more for white-top kraftliner were less successful. Suppliers themselves were surprised by how hard it was to implement the price hikes that they considered a done deal. Many machines were fully booked, with lead times sometimes stretching into the summer, but prices still did not edge higher in May. Market experts said that one reason for the delays may be because companies had recently focused so heavily on brown kraftliner talks that white grades had taken a backseat.
While converters feel that increasing white kraftliner prices is off the table, manufacturers are still confident that they will take this step as soon as the final talks for unbleached grades are done and dusted.