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Newspapers and magazines hold their own as overall figures slide

UK consumption of recovered paper jumped by more than 20,000 tonnes in October this year but, by contrast, mill production dipped 3.2% during the month to push the cumulative total for the first 10 months of 2004 below that for the corresponding period last year.

Once again, Class III newspapers and magazines was largely responsible for the 5.2% increase in recovered paper consumption to 410,572 tonnes during October this year. Consumption of this class surged 19.7% higher in the tenth month to 126,058 tonnes to take the running total for January - October 2004 to 1.235 million tonnes - a whopping 23.1% ahead of the 1.003m tonnes registered in the same period last year.

Consumption of Class II corrugated and kraft also grew in October, albeit by a more conservative 1.3% to 193,308 tonnes. However, when taking the first 10 months of the year as a whole, consumption was actually 5.8% lower than in 2003 at 1.767m tonnes. Similarly, UK consumption of both mixed and high grades was down on last year when viewed from the 10-month perspective: the former showed a decline of 10.3% from 282,943 tonnes in January - October 2003 to 253,752 tonnes this time round, while the latter dropped by 4.4% from 629,630 tonnes to 601,657 tonnes. Looking at the October figures in isolation, consumption of mixed grades was only 0.3% lower than last year at 26,827 tonnes, whereas the high grades total was down 4.1% at 64,379 tonnes.

These latest figures also confirm that UK mill intake grew less sharply than consumption in October, whereas the cumulative total reflected faster upward momentum. Total intake was 3.2% higher in October this year at 420,924 tonnes while the January - October total of 3.893m tonnes represented a 2.7% improvement over the 3.792m tonnes registered for the first 10 months of 2003.

Focusing on the individual classes of recovered paper, intake of mixed grades increased by 16.5% to 30,323 tonnes in October this year but, from the 10-month perspective, the total of 256,911 tonnes was still 6.1% behind the 273,572 tonnes reported last year. Following a similar trend, intake of corrugated and kraft was 4.7% higher in October this year at 199,047 tonnes but 2.9% lower from the ten-month angle at 1.777m tonnes. High grades intake fell by 9.4% in October to 65,432 tonnes while the January - October total reflected a decline of 1.6% -from 632,979 tonnes last year to 622,987 tonnes in 2004.

Unsurprisingly, the only class of recovered paper to record an increase in both monthly and running totals was newspapers and magazines: the former advanced 5.5% from 119,563 tonnes to 126,122 tonnes, while the latter was a full 17.1% ahead of the January-October 2003 figure at 1.237m tonnes.

In what has been a see-saw year for UK mill stocks, Class I mixed grades followed up a 37.1% slump during September with an 81.4% increase the following month to 7,188 tonnes. Thus, supply at the prevailing rate of usage recovered in October to its end-August level of 1.2 weeks after sliding to 0.6 weeks at the close of the ninth month.

Stocks of Class III newspapers and magazines also grew significantly during October after falling 2.8% in September. The 10.9% increase to 52,505 tonnes pushed up supply from 1.6 to 1.8 weeks. UK stocks of Class II corrugated and kraft rose by a slender 0.9% to 59,644 tonnes at the end of October, although supply remained unchanged at 1.4 weeks. Class IV high grades was alone in recording a drop in supply during October from 1.8 to 1.7 weeks, thanks to a 6.1% decline in stocks from 26,296 tonnes to 24,704 tonnes.

October brought an end to the slight growth i

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