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UK mill stocks up on last year

Despite dropping 4.3% in August to 379,606 tonnes, UK consumption of recovered paper was still running slightly ahead of 2003 after the first eight months of this year thanks exclusively to the sizeable increase in the Class III newspapers and magazines total.

Compared with the same month last year, consumption of newspapers and magazines soared 23.7% to 129,154 tonnes this August, whereas the three other classes of recovered paper recorded declines. Most notably, consumption of Class I mixed grades slumped 24.2% to 22,890 tonnes while Class II corrugated and kraft slid 16.4% to 168,489 tonnes. Less pronounced was the decline for the Class IV high grades, consumption of which dipped 2.1% in August to 59,073 tonnes.

After the first eight months of 2004, consumption of newspapers and magazines was fast approaching the 1 million tonnes mark at 984,423 tonnes; this compares with 801,736 tonnes for JanuaryAugust 2003 an increase of 22.8%. When comparing the same two periods, consumption of mixed grades was a full 12.6% lower at 199,761 tonnes, corrugated and kraft consumption dropped 7.4% to 1,396,000 tonnes; and the high grades total was 5.1% down on last year at 476,379 tonnes.

The eighth month of this year produced a tiny 0.1% upturn in UK recovered paper intake to 370,346 tonnes. The increase was once again underpinned by newspapers and magazines, intake of which leapt 18.3% from 99,786 tonnes in August last year to 118,058 tonnes this time round. Mirroring the consumption trend, all other classes of recovered paper registered intake declines in August this year: mixed grades fell 14.3% to 24,204 tonnes; corrugated and kraft slid 7.2% to 169,700 tonnes; and high grades dipped 1.3% to 58,384 tonnes.

Rolling the first eight months of the year together, UK mill intake of recovered paper reached 3,065,000 tonnes some 2% ahead of the 3,005,000 tonnes registered in the same period last year. That said, only newspapers and magazines improved on last years total in posting a 19.7% increase to 978,013 tonnes. A cumulative total for mixed grades of 200,631 tonnes represented a decline of 9.1% from the 220,622 tonnes recorded in JanuaryAugust last year. Corrugated and kraft intake slid 5.1% from 1,468,000 tonnes in the first eight months of 2003 to 1,394,000 tonnes during the corresponding period of 2004, while a 1.3% decline in high grades intake pushed the cumulative total down from 499,487 tonnes in 2003 to 492,843 tonnes this time round.

UK mill stocks of newspapers and magazines fell throughout the summer months. Having stood at 59,637 tonnes at the end of June, they fell by 8.4% the following month and by a further 10.7% in August to 48,785 tonnes the equivalent of 1.7 weeks supply compared with 2.1 weeks two months earlier and 1.9 weeks at the end of July. However, the newspapers and magazines inventory was up 106.1% from the end of August last year.

Indeed, UK mill stocks of all classes of recovered paper were higher at the end of August this year compared with 12 months earlier. The mixed grades inventory total, for example, jumped 28.9% in August this year to 6,294 tonnes a sizeable 56.7% larger than the 4,017 tonnes reported a year earlier. Supply at the prevailing rate of usage duly leapt from 0.8 weeks at the end of July 2004 to 1.2 weeks a month later.

Stocks of high grades followed up a 6.9% decline in July with a further drop of 13.9% in August to give an month-end total of 24,510 tonnes 2% ahead of the 24,026 tonnes reported a year earlier. Supply dropped from 2.1 weeks at the end of July 2004 to 1.8 weeks one month later.

The only class of recovered paper to have recorded an increase in stocks during July was corrugated and kraft. However, the inventory was trimmed by 3.4% in August to 55,857 tonnes 18.3% higher than at the same point last year and supply at the prevailing rate of usage held steady at 1.5 weeks.

Taking all of the classes of recovered paper together, stocks fell 7.1% in August this year to 135,446 tonnes, while ave

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