Business has been better on the French woodfree coated paper market, as well, from mid-August onwards. However, this sector had previously encountered an extremely strong slump in demand, which began in early summer. Total French coated fine paper sales had plunged in July compared with the same month last year, and manufacturers were barely able to switch to international markets. Quite a few companies will have to revise downward their plans for the full year 2016 unless a sizeable leap in demand materialises in the last third of the year.
At any rate, prices have not emerged unscathed from the recent market developments. Some paper manufacturers described their own selling prices as mostly unchanged between July and August. However, most comments indicated additional price cuts that were frequently described as summer discounts. Yet, the majority of EUWID sources feel that these temporary price cuts will become a lasting feature on the market. Since raising prices is all but out of the question in the current market environment, margins are well and truly coming under pressure, especially those of non-integrated paper manufacturers. It was conceivable that the pressure on prices might die down with the recovery in demand that was now surfacing, manufacturers hoped.