Concerns about energy, transport and raw materials as well as scant supply of printing and writing paper are shaping the market.
The war in Ukraine is having relatively limited direct effects on the Polish paper industry, in the view of insiders. All relevant players withdrew from the Russian market very swiftly. Prior to the invasion, only modest tonnages of woodfree uncoated paper and packaging paper had been delivered to Russia and Ukrainian customers. Local producers and other European suppliers managed to redirect these volumes immediately. However, businesses from the paper, printing and packaging industries are all feeling indirect effects of the conflict in the form of higher costs and a great deal of uncertainty about the weeks and months ahead.
Businesses are concerned about how energy, transportation and raw material markets will evolve. Nonetheless, the situation for recovered paper, corrugated case material, corrugated board and corrugated board packaging was still reasonably stable in the first quarter. The availability of paper and board has continued to improve, with prices not changing by the end of March. The situation was different in the graphic paper segment, where the last few weeks brought very scant supply, robust demand and another round of increases in prices for woodfree and mechanical paper grades. The cartonboard market is rather strained, too, offering several producers the opportunity to raise their prices again. This situation looks set to stick around in April.