Newsprint prices dropped by up to 4% in H1 contracts. Production cutbacks and machine closures expected to match supply with demand and reverse the price trend in Europe, newsprint producers say.
Newsprint contract negotiations are coming to an end in Italy towards the end of March. Sporadic contracts for deliveries in the first half of 2013 were apparently still outstanding in the week before Easter, but market players said that this small number of deals would soon be formally signed and sealed. All of the details had been discussed and the contracts had been prepared; the parties just had to put pen to paper, a buyer explained.
Several newsprint buyers said that price cuts of up to 4% ultimately ended up being modest given that even larger reductions had been discussed for a time in keeping with talks in Germany. Nonetheless, some paper manufacturers could have been talked into lower prices in certain instances, a few publishers said. Most manufacturers categorically denied that they had any part in transactions of this kind, stressing that they had not signed contracts at such a low prices despite poor ordering in the first quarter of the year.
Market players are anxiously waiting to see what will happen on the Italian newsprint market in the near future as next round of price talks was already just around the corner in two months' time. Production cutbacks and downtime announced by producers to adjust supply to reflect dwindling demand are keeping things interesting. Manufacturers firmly believe that these actions will not only help to improve capacity utilisation, but also reverse the trend in newsprint prices by the start of next year at the latest. However, customers were largely unimpressed. "Nobody will end up empty-handed as a result," one buyer said.
⇒ This article is an excerpt from EUWID's monthly report on the paper markets in Italy. The EUWID Price Watch Italy for March will be published in EUWID Pulp and Paper no. 13 on 27 March.
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