CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA , Dec. 19, 2013 (Viewpoint) -
After a brief respite from steep demand losses in 2012, the North American newsprint market is on track for another heavy decline in 2013, with domestic demand down nearly 10% through the first 10 months of the year. In contrast, total shipments have fallen by only 4% year-to-date, as a rebound in offshore exports has offset about 40% of the decline in domestic demand. This strong export growth has allowed the North American industry to maintain reasonable operating rates in 2013 despite the rapid descent of domestic demand and little in the way of permanent capacity closures, but producers will need to find even more exports next year given the likelihood of continued declines in the domestic market.
We expect North American offshore newsprint shipments to reach 2.0 million tonnes in 2013, 12% better than their performance last year but well below their level of 2.4 million tonnes in 2011, so it would seem at first glance that there is still ample room for growth. However, Figure 1 illustrates that global newsprint demand, excluding the major mature markets of North America, Western Europe, China and Japan, is also expected to come in about 500,000 tonnes below its 2011 level.
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