Market Pulp Continues Decline

Market pulp prices continue falling, according to Wilde. Hardwood is much weaker than softwood and the price spread between the two is unusually wide. Domestic producers have dropped November U.S. NBSK (northern bleached softwood kraft) by $30/metric ton to $920/metric ton. At the same time, domestic spot prices are much lower. Chinese prices have fallen faster. North American producers have set November levels at $700 - $710/metric ton in China, down $80/metric ton from October's level.

Russian BSK (bleached softwood kraft) prices for late fourth quarter are currently reported in the mid-$600s. Hardwood is uglier, Wilde continues, noting that trade BEK (bleached eucalyptus kraft) in China is at ˜$550/metric ton, ˜$100/metric ton below October levels. Even at these low levels, customers are reportedly balking and pushing for prices as low as $460. "On the road in Europe over the past week, we've found producers increasingly cautious about the next several months," Wilde says.