Containerboard production decreased 1.8 percent compared to February 2018 and was down 1.4 percent year-to-date. The average daily production compared to January 2019 was 3.8 percent lower. The containerboard operating rate was 89.5 percent, 6.2 percentage points lower than the same month last year and down 3.9 points year-to-date. Production for export continued its steep decline and was nearly 30 percent lower than February 2018, dropping below 300 thousand short tons for the first time since May 2010.
According to the February 2019 Printing-Writing Monthly report from the American Forest & Paper Association, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased seven percent in February compared to February 2018. Total printing-writing paper inventory levels increased one percent from January 2019. Net imports for the full year 2018 increased 26 percent compared to 2017.
- U.S. shipments of uncoated free sheet (UFS) paper decreased six percent in February from the same month one year ago. The inventory level of UFS papers remained essentially flat in February compared to January. UFS imports in 2018 increased six percent while exports finished the year 16 percent lower than 2017.
- U.S. purchases of coated free sheet (CFS) papers decreased ten percent in February when compared to February 2018. Inventories, meanwhile, remained essentially flat compared to last month. An increase in imports for 2018 of CFS papers of nine percent combined with a 13 percent decrease in exports to leave net imports of CFS papers 50 percent higher than 2017.
- U.S. purchases of coated mechanical (CM) papers remained essentially flat year-over-year in February. U.S. shipments of uncoated mechanical (UM) paper decreased less than one-half of one percent in February. Inventory levels at the end of February when compared to January decreased for coated mechanical and increased for uncoated mechanical. For 2018 as a whole, exports of CM papers decreased five percent while imports of UM papers remained flat compared to 2017.
U.S. Packaging Papers & Specialty Packaging
Total Packaging Papers shipments were down 3.3 percent from February 2018 and flat year-to-date. Bag & Sack shipments were down 2.0 percent year-to-date; Multiwall shipments were up 4.4 percent; Food Wrapping shipments were up 0.9 percent; and Converting shipments were down 0.6 percent. The operating rate for February decreased to 89.5 percent compared to 91.3 percent in January. Inventories remained essentially flat since January and were 3.4 percent lower than the same month last year.
Total boxboard monthly production decreased 0.8 percent when compared to February 2018. The total boxboard operating rate was 97.4 percent for February. Total Solid Bleached Boxboard & Liner production was up 3.3 percent year to date; Recycled Boxboard production rose 2.6 year to date; and Unbleached Kraft & Gypsum declined 1.3 year to date.
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.