N.A. Containerboard Markets Uncertain

Wilde explains that recent market turmoil/uncertainty makes a containerboard price hike in late-summer/early-autumn "look tougher." To be sure, he says, "many indicators are encouraging. June operating rates were a robust 96.9%. Inventories remain lean and export demand is reasonably solid. The ‘weak link' is domestic box demand. Last week's July ISM wasn't encouraging. The index slipped from 55.3 to 50.9, indicating slowing demand."

Pressure on box prices appears to have eased, Wilde continues. "However," he says, "rising input costs are apt to pressure second half margins. July estimated linerboard prices were flat at $635 - $645/ton."