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N.A. Uncoated Paper Markets Stay Flat

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Uncoated free sheet (UCF) prices were flat in August, Mark Wilde of Deutsche Bank continues. Prices for 20 lb repro-bond were stable at $1,035 - $1,085/ton. Prices for 50 lb offset were flat m/m at $910 - $930/ton. A $40/ton cut-size price hike for late-May/early-June and a $60/ton increase on offset grades have both failed. Trade reports suggest some spot deals on cut-size papers. UFS demand remains sluggish. July shipments were -2.7% y/y (YTD -3.0%), Wilde reports. Additional supply from the restart of the Grays Harbor mill (+135,000 tpy) will be offset by Domtar's conversion of its 270,000 tpy Marlboro mill to specialty grades, he adds.

Uncoated groundwood estimated prices were flat in August, according to Wilde, with 22-lb directory at $790 - $810/ton, 35-lb offset at $650 - $700/ton, and SC-A at $820 - $860/ton. Demand remains anemic. July shipments were down 18.7% y/y, while Q2 shipments were -15.7% y/y. Potential restart of a 360,000 tpy SC paper machine at Pt Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, by late-September could increase supply in the market and pressure prices. Verso's Sartell mill shutdown will reduce SC capacity by a very modest 35,000 tpy, Wilde says.


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