There has been no upward movement in German coated woodfree paper prices so far in March. Producers say that orders for April are already booked at higher prices.
Following the failure to introduce across-the-board mark-ups for coated woodfree paper in January and February, producers are set to implement price hikes of 5-7% by the end of March or 1 April. In the meantime, wholesalers have also reacted and announced price hikes of 5-7% for the beginning of April.
In light of excess supply and moderate demand, the business environment on the German market is reportedly not really backing producers' plans for higher prices. Lead times are quoted at a maximum of 14 days. Although producers stressed that they are willing to forego volumes in favour of larger margins, it was not a big deal to find a supplier who was willing to underbid its competitors and sell at lower prices, buyers reported.
By contrast, producers expect that all players will take part in the current round of price hikes "because the entire industry is in the red.” Orders for April are already said to be as much as €40/t more expensive. However, it remained to be seen whether the orders would really be accepted or whether they would later be cancelled, EUWID was told.
Capacity reductions seen so far had not yet been sufficient to restore a lasting balance to the market, observers said. As further declines in shipments are expected in 2013, more large shutdowns are considered unavoidable.
⇒ This article is an excerpt from EUWID's weekly report on the paper markets in Germany. The EUWID Price Watch Germany for March will be published in EUWID Pulp and Paper no. 14 on 2 April.
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