Containerboard production decreased 8.6 percent compared to March 2018 and was down 3.9 percent year-to-date. The average daily production compared to February 2019 was 3.5 percent lower. The containerboard operating rate was 86.4 percent, 10.4 points lower than the same month last year and down 6.1 points year-to-date. Production for export bounced back from the lowest volume in nearly a decade back in February, but was nevertheless down 21.6 percent year-to-date.
According to the March 2019 Printing-Writing Monthly report from AF&PA, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 10 percent in March compared to March 2018. U.S. purchases of total printing-writing papers declined five percent in March compared to the same month last year. Total printing-writing paper inventory levels increased 1 percent from February 2019.
- U.S. shipments of uncoated free sheet (UFS) paper decreased 10 percent in March from the same month one year ago. The inventory level of UFS papers increased one percent in March compared to February. UFS imports in February 2019 increased 33 percent year-over-year while exports decreased 13 percent.
- U.S. purchases of coated free sheet (CFS) papers decreased 6 percent in March when compared to March 2018. Inventories decreased one percent compared to last month. Imports of CFS papers in February 2019 increased 10 percent exports decreased by less than one-half of one percent.
- U.S. shipments of coated mechanical (CM) papers decreased 8 percent year-over-year in March. U.S. purchases of uncoated mechanical (UM) paper decreased 6 percent in March. Inventory levels at the end of March when compared to February increased for both CM and UM. In February, both imports and exports of CM increased year-over-year, while for UM imports were up and exports were down.
U.S. Packaging Papers & Specialty Packaging
Total Packaging Papers shipments were down 1.2 percent from March 2018 and essentially flat year-to-date. Bag & Sack shipments were down 1.0 percent year-to-date; Multiwall shipments were up 1.7 percent; Food Wrapping shipments were up 1.5 percent; and Converting shipments were down 2.2 percent. The operating rate for March increased to 90.5 percent compared to 89.5 percent in February. Inventories decreased 3.5 percent from February and were 8.0 percent lower than the same month last year.
Total boxboard monthly production increased 3.4 percent when compared to March 2018. The total boxboard operating rate was 96.3 percent for March. Total Solid Bleached Boxboard & Liner production was up 5.1 percent year to date; Recycled Boxboard production rose 2.5 percent year to date; and Unbleached Kraft & Gypsum declined 1.7 percent year to date.
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 www.afandpa.org or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.