Worldwide pulp inventories rise one day to 42 days-of-supply in February, shipments increase 12.8% YoY

February brought intriguing shifts in global pulp inventories and shipments, marking a significant moment in the industry's trajectory. Understanding these fluctuations is key to navigating the market's future.

The Pulp and Paper Products Council (PPPC) reported on Wednesday that global chemical market pulp producer inventories increased to 42 days-of-supply in February, rising one day-of-supply vs a revised January result. Global shipments rose 12.8% year-over-year to 4.509 million tonnes.

February producer stockpiles closed at the 42-day mark with a one-day increase vs January, but that was down two days-of-supply vs the originally reported 44 days of stock in January. The PPPC reissued its December 2023 report with substantial revisions on the entire fourth quarter, and its January figures were also revised.

According to PPPC data, in February, worldwide inventories at bleached softwood kraft (BSK) market pulp producers decreased to 39 days of supply, down two days of stock.

Bleached hardwood kraft (BHK) producer stocks increased four days-of-supply, bringing February’s BHK to 45 days, the PPPC reported. However, in the wake of substantial January revisions, February’s 45 days in BHK was down two days vs the PPPC’s originally reported 47 days-of-supply for January.

February global pulp shipments totaled the 4.509 million tonnes, gaining 12.8% vs year-ago deliveries of 3.996 million tonnes and posting a 3.9% increase vs January shipments of 4.339 million tonnes, according to PPPC figures.

Worldwide BSK shipments totaled 1.942 million tonnes in February, up 11% vs year-ago shipments of 1.750 million tonnes and a 7.2% gain vs January’s 1.812 million tonnes.

Global BHK shipments totaled 2.423 million tonnes in February, up 17% vs year-ago shipments of 2.071 million tonnes and up 2.2% vs January’s 2.372 million tonnes.

The shipment-to-capacity ratio, which some watch as a key indicator of demand, soared to 91% in February, up nine points from January’s 82%. That was also three points above the February 2023 shipment-to-capacity ratio of 88%.

World chemical market pulp statistics represent 82% of global capacity and includes data from 17 currently producing counties. The PPPC eliminated kraft pulp statistics from three countries in 2014 due to permanent mill closures in Morocco, Norway, and Swaziland. Data is still collected from Norway on high-yield pulp, also called chemi-thermomechanical pulp.

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