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Feature: Mill intakes show major swings

A 6.2% drop in UK recovered paper consumption in September last year was followed by a thumping 8.6% decline in October to 375,111 tonnes. But even more dramatic falls of 14.2% and 15.7% were recorded by, respectively, intake and mill stocks. UK paper and board production was relatively stable by comparison. The total for October 2005 was just 0.8% lower than that registered in the same month of 2004, according to statistics from the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI).

Class III newspapers and magazines was alone in recording increased consumption during October.

Compared to the 10th month of 2004, the total was 7.4% higher at 135,372 tonnes. In the first 10 months of last year, UK mills consumed 1.613 million (m) tonnes of corrugated and kraft or 8.7% less than the 1.767m tonnes reported for January-October 2004. The running totals for the other three classes were still showing improvements after the first 10 months of 2005.

UK mill intake statistics harboured some yet more significant swings. The mixed grades total for October 2005 of 23,115 tonnes was a full 23.8% lower than the 30,323 tonnes registered in the same month of the previous year. But the fall for corrugated and kraft was even steeper, with intake slumping 26.6% from 199,047 tonnes to 146,016 tonnes. Intake of newspapers and magazines edged only 0.9% lower to 125,005 tonnes while the high grades total showed a 2.3% increase to 66,938 tonnes.

UK mill stocks of recovered paper ended October last year at just one week’s supply following another month of striking declines. Class IV high grades bucked the monthly trend by recording a 10.2% increase in the mill inventory during October to 19,322 tonnes, thereby boosting supply from 1.2 to 1.3 weeks. However, stocks of all four classes of recovered paper ended the tenth month of last year at far lower levels compared to the same juncture in 2004. The corrugated and kraft total was down 64.4% while the declines for mixed grades, newspapers/magazines and high grades were, respectively, 21.9%, 33.3% and 21.8%.

UK paper and board production statistics were far less dramatic by comparison. Overall production totalled 519,180 tonnes in October last year — equivalent to a slender 0.8% decline from the 523,330 tonnes reported for the same month in 2004. In the first 10 months of 2005, output was running 2.3% behind the 5.224m tonnes recorded in 2004 at 5.102m tonnes.

This decline can be attributed largely to the performance in three product segments: production of boards for packaging (excluding folding box board) tumbled 18.5%
in the first 10 months of 2005, while wrappings up to 150gm2 and case materials registered production falls
of, respectively, 8.7% and 8.3% over the same compara-tive periods.

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