In many European markets – France, Germany, Italy and the UK – prices for newsprint grades went up from 1 July or at a later date, depending on contract validity.
Newsprint suppliers reported good workloads and all market players agreed that the market was balanced or supply even tight. It was hard to impossible to source additional volumes in all markets. This was due to the fact that newsprint production capacities decreased at a faster rate than overall demand over the last two to three years, said experts. Furthermore suppliers claimed that prices for newsprint on dollar markets were more competitive than in Europe, thus drawing volumes away from Europe.
Newsprint manufacturers, who used to suffer from overcapacity, believe they can obtain sustainable prices for the first time in a long while. However, the increases put printing companies in Europe in a difficult position as their end markets are very competitive and some of their customers simply refuse to pay more.
Many experts believe that the situation on the European newsprint markets will not change until the end of the year. However, some expect supply will start to exceed demand again at one point in 2019, giving the unabated decline in demand in Europe. Then tables might be turning again, they point out.