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Paper

Paper price hikes a deadweight for printers

The latest firm to hike paper prices has cited the rising costs of pulp, chemicals, and logistics as the main reasons.

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Brexit has been blamed for rises in paper prices by the industry

Bielefeld-based Mitsubishi HiTec Paper, which makes coated speciality papers, is increasing its prices for deliveries from June 1st, by between six and eight percent. With inflation still around the two percent mark, these increases are a body blow for the printing industry. 

However, Mitsubishi HiTec Paper is not alone; last month, Spanish paper-maker J.Vilaseca put up its prices on all paper grades by around £45 per metric ton, saying it was due to “the continuous increase in the price of cellulose, energy, and other raw materials, exacerbated by excess demand”.

The list of manufacturers, pulp paper mills, distributors and wholesalers of paper that have pressed the increase price button is long. 

In November, Fedrigoni UK made increases of more five percent, while Smurfit Kappa followed suit in December along with The Navigator Company. The New Year saw Arjowiggins Graphic raise prices by ten percent, as did Asia Pulp and Paper’s sales outfit, while Stora Enso did the same. 

The list of manufacturers, pulp paper mills, distributors and wholesalers of paper that have pressed the increase price button is long

Joining the rush to hit printers in the same month were Arctic Paper, Lecta, International Paper, Burgo UK and Suzano Pulp and Paper who also upped prices by up to ten percent.

Why prices should rise to quickly is a mystery to many printers that find it hard to pass the increases on to customers. Fuel and energy costs are usually the main drivers of inflation but the reasons given by the paper industry vary. 

Smurfit Kappa says it is an increase in raw materials and collapse in the exchange rate between Britain and the Euro. Brexit is also blamed by Stora Enso as it has created “turbulence in the UK economic landscape”.

Fedrigoni UK agrees, adding: “The current exchange rate between the pound and the euro has reached a new low. Unfortunately, this drives the need for an increase to reach a sustainable ongoing price position for our products.”

The current exchange rate between the pound and the euro has reached a new low. Unfortunately, this drives the need for an increase to reach a sustainable ongoing price position for our product

With European forests growing, print business is globally stable and if anything increasing slightly, and with low UK inflation and wages kept down for years, it is hard to see further than the exchange rate as the single cause. 

Fuel and energy prices have risen, but not by ten percent. So, according to the paper and pulp industry, Brexit and the pound’s fall in value are to blame. 

Although some in the print industry may raise their eyebrows over the reason given for the increase, others may think that perhaps could it be more a case of making a profit from the struggling print industry and blaming Brexit—something that is yet to happen?

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