Containerboard production was essentially flat compared to December 2017 but up 1.7 percent year-to-date. The month-over-month average daily production compared to November 2018 was 1.8 percent lower. The containerboard operating rate was 94.2 percent, 2.9 percentage points lower than the same month last year. Production for export was 11.0 percent lower than December 2017 while year-end production for export was down less than half a percent over year-end 2017.
According to the December 2018 Printing-Writing Monthly report from the American Forest & Paper Association, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased seven percent in December compared to December 2017, which matches the total decrease for the year. Total printing-writing paper inventory levels increased seven percent from November.
- U.S. purchases of uncoated free sheet (UFS) paper decreased six percent in December from the same month one year ago. The inventory level of UFS papers increased eight percent in December compared to November.
- Shipments of coated free sheet (CFS) papers decreased six percent in 2018 when compared to 2017. Purchases decreased three percent for the year.
- U.S. purchases of uncoated mechanical (UM) papers increased three percent year-over-year in December. Shipments of coated mechanical (CM) paper decreased four percent in December. Inventory levels at the end of December when compared to November increased seven percent and remained essentially flat for UM paper and CM paper, respectively.
U.S. Packaging Papers & Specialty Packaging
Total Packaging Papers shipments were down 7.9 percent from December 2017 but up 1.8 percent year-to-date. Bag and Sack shipments were up 4.4 percent year-to-date; Multiwall shipments were down 1.4 percent; Converting shipments were up 0.5 percent; and Food Wrapping shipments were up 1.9 percent. The operating rate for December dropped to 87.0 percent compared to 89.5 percent in November. Inventories increased 2.2 percent since November and were 4.9 percent higher than the same month last year.
Total boxboard monthly production increased 0.6 percent when compared to December 2017 and increased 0.7 percent year to date. The total boxboard operating rate was 93.8 percent for December. The year to date production for Solid Bleached Boxboard and Liner was up 2.1; Recycled Boxboard declined 1.8; and Unbleached Kraft and Gypsum rose 1.7.
The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance a sustainable U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, and wood products manufacturing industry through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. AF&PA member companies make products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry's sustainability initiative - Better Practices, Better Planet 2020. The forest products industry accounts for approximately 4 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures about $210 billion in products annually, and employs nearly 900,000 men and women. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 47 states. Visit AF&PA online at www.afandpa.org or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.