N.A. Coated Freesheet Inches Upward

The January list price range on No.3 60-lb rolls of coated freesheet (CFS) have been boosted by $25/ton m/m, according to Wilde. As with coated groundwood papers (see item above), in September 2010, the CFS price rose only $25/ton of the $40 - $60/ton hike announced, as some of the large North American customers also enjoyed price protections in the third and fourth quarters. As these protections ended, producers implemented price increase in January, leading to an increase in the low-end of the price range.

Demand for CFS is "just OK," Wilde says, not as strong as coated groundwood (LWC). Preliminary December shipments were +3.0% y/y, but -2.0% m/m. CFS is becoming the center of a global trade war. The U.S. has imposed anti-dumping duties on imports from China (excluding APP). Brazilian producers are making similar claims as well. All of this suggests the oversupply situation for Chinese producers will get even uglier, Wilde warns.