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The Final Word by Chuck Swann
Here is a look at paper and board production stats for March:

Boxboard: Total March boxboard production decreased 2.6% compared to March 2014, but increased 8.3% over February, according to data from the American Forest & Paper Association. Unbleached kraft boxboard production was up over the same month of last year and February of the current year. Total solid bleached boxboard and liner production decreased when compared to March 2014, but increased compared to February of this year. Production of recycled boxboard fell compared to March 2014, but rose compared to February of this year.

Containerboard: Containerboard production rose 1.1% compared to March of last year and was 0.8% lower than February 2015. The containerboard operating rate for March this year rose to 95.5% from February's 94.7%.

Kraft Paper: Total kraft paper shipments last month were 130.4 thousand short tons, 1.9% greater than March 2014. Bleached kraft paper shipments increased from 8.8 thousand tons in February to 8.9 thousand in March this year, while unbleached kraft paper shipments rose from 108.6 thousand tons to 121.4 thousand last month. Altogether, shipments for the first three months of 2015 were 3.8% lower than in the same period of 2014. Total month-end inventories increased to 85.8 thousand tons.

Printing-writing Papers: Total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 4.0% in March 2015, compared to March 2014, with inventory levels basically unchanged from February 2015.

Uncoated freesheet shipments in March dropped by 1.0% compared to March 2014. Imports of UFS fell 6.0% year-over-year in February, and are down 2.0% year-to-date.

Coated freesheet shipments in March this year dropped by 3.0% compared to March 2014. Imports of CFS also fell by 3.0% in February, the first year-over-year decrease in 10 months.

Uncoated mechanical shipments last month decreased 9.0%, compared to March 2014. Imposts of UM papers were down 12.0% in February, the eighth consecutive monthly decline.

Coated mechanical shipments in March were down 14.0% compared to the same month in 2014. Imports of CM were up 16.0% in February and exports rose by 17.0%, the second consecutive increase.

Chuck Swann is the senior editor of Paperitalo Publications. He can be reached by email at chuck.swann@taii.com.

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