AF&PA Releases May 2019 Reports

Market analysis
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Containerboard production in May 2019 decreased six percent compared to May 2018 and was down 4.5 percent year-to-date.


Containerboard production in May 2019 decreased six percent compared to May 2018 and was down 4.5 percent year-to-date. The average daily production compared to April 2019 was 0.9 percent higher. The containerboard operating rate increased slightly from 91.5 percent in April to 91.9 percent, as the total linerboard rate rose above 90 percent for the first time since January. In spite of the bounce back in the last couple of months, the May operating rate was 6.7 points lower than the same month last year and the year-to-date operating rate was down six points compared to last year. Production for export, most of which is liner, was down nearly 18 percent year-over-year and nearly 20 percent year-to-date.

Packaging Papers & Specialty Packaging

Total packaging papers shipments were down 7.2 percent from May 2018 and down 2.4 percent year-to-date. Bag and sack shipments were down 0.6 percent year-to-date; multiwall shipments were down 7.5 percent; food wrapping shipments were essentially flat; and converting shipments were down 2.8 percent. The operating rate for May decreased to 85.2 percent compared to 88.4 percent in April. Inventory levels decreased 2.3 percent from April.


Total boxboard monthly production decreased 4.6 percent when compared to May 2018. The total boxboard operating rate was 91.1 percent for May. Total Solid Bleached Boxboard and Liner production was up 0.2 percent year to date; Recycled Boxboard production rose 0.2 year to date; and Unbleached Kraft & Gypsum declined 1.2 percent year to date.

Printing-Writing Paper

According to the May 2019 Printing-Writing Monthly report from AF&PA, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 11 percent in May compared to May 2018. U.S. purchases of total printing-writing papers declined eight percent in May compared to the same month last year. Total printing-writing paper inventory levels increased one percent from April 2019.

  • U.S. shipments of uncoated free sheet (UFS) paper decreased 13 percent in May from the same month one year ago. The inventory level of UFS papers increased two percent in May compared to April. UFS imports in April 2019 increased 39 percent year-over-year while exports decreased 29 percent.
  • U.S. purchases of coated free sheet (CFS) papers decreased five percent in May when compared to May 2018. Inventories decreased two percent compared to last month. Imports of CFS papers in April 2019 increased six percent while exports decreased 10 percent.
  • U.S. shipments of coated mechanical (CM) papers decreased four percent year-over-year in May. U.S. purchases of uncoated mechanical (UM) paper decreased 10 percent in May. Inventory levels at the end of May when compared to April increased for CM and decreased for UM, both by three percent. Both imports and exports of CM increased year-over-year in April, while UM imports and exports were both up.

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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 or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.

Source: The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA)