Back in mid-November, NBSK pulp buyers had to realize that the market was not as weak as it had been two to three months ago. Now, at the beginning of December, it has become clear that softwood pulp prices edged up slightly.
The NBSK business has become much stronger in recent weeks, sources said. The stabilisation was spurred by large sales of spot volumes around the globe and by pulp mills in Europe and Canada going offline for maintenance.
Consequently, softwood pulp prices edged higher in November, as anticipated. However, suppliers did not always manage to tack on the full amount. Producers often struck deals with their customers that will see an intermediate step with the remaining amount to be added in December.
"There was actually no need to split this mark-up given supply and demand at present," one producer told EUWID, adding that the market would have easily taken the full hike. However, a few competitors had apparently signalled their willingness to compromise at the London Pulp Week, sparking a chain reaction throughout the industry.
Observers are predicting that pulp prices will rise again at the start of the year amid producers' low inventories and full order books. On the other hand, converters feel that Europe's paper industry is in poor condition and thus intend to fight against additional mark-ups in rapid succession.
⇒ This article is an excerpt from EUWID's monthly report on the pulp market. The EUWID Price Watch pulp for November will be published in EUWID Pulp and Paper no. 49 on 5 December.
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