US production in most grades trended downward in the month of May, according to statistics released on June 16 by the American Forest & Paper Association.
Total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 9.0% in May, compared to May 2014, with inventory levels up 8.0% from April.
Uncoated free sheet paper shipments in May decreased 5% compared to May 2014. Imports of UFS were down 12% year-over-year in April.
Coated free sheet shipments decreased 10% compared to May 2014. Imports of CFS were up 28% in April, the 11th year-over-year increase in the past 12 months.
Uncoated mechanical paper shipments were down 19%, compared to May 2014. Imports of UM papers were down 25% in April, the 10th consecutive monthly decline.
Coated mechanical shipments in May were reduced 14% compared to the same month of 2014. Imports of CM increased in April, up 17% compared to April 2014, while exports of CM were up 16%.
Total kraft paper shipments in May were 140.7 thousand short tons, less than 1.0% lower than in May 2014. Bleached kraft paper shipments decreased from 10.3 thousand tons to 8.4 thousand, while unbleached kraft paper shipments remained essentially flat at 132.3 thousand tons. Overall, kraft paper shipments for the first five months of 2015 were 1.4% lower than the same period of 2014. Total month-end inventories rose to 81.5 thousand tons.
Containerboard production last month was less than 1.0% higher compared to May 2014. The month-over-month average daily production rate was 2.0% lower. The containerboard operating rate for May was down to 97.2% from April's 98.6%.
Total boxboard production last month fell 0.9% compared to May 2014, but was up 4.7% from April. Unbleached kraft boxboard production in May was up over May 2014 and April 2015. Total solid bleached boxboard and liner production was down compared to May 2014, but up over April 2015. Production of recycled boxboard was down compared to May 2014, but up over April 2015.