Paper prices keep going up

Lecta has announced increases on CWF and Speciality grades
Lecta has announced increases on CWF and Speciality grades

Printers and print buyers have been rocked by a new wave of paper price rises and surcharges, amid speculation that one paper maker could be considering a surcharge as high as £170/tonne.

Yesterday evening Sappi confirmed an energy surcharge of €100/tonne (£84/tonne) across all its products.  

“Sappi Europe can no longer absorb the full extent of the unprecedented increase in energy prices and announces the intention to apply a general energy surcharge across all products,” the group stated. 

“Sappi understands that circumstances are extremely challenging and remain committed to managing its business, supporting the industry and serving customers during this difficult period.”

Lecta has also announced a price increase of 12%-14% on all its coated woodfree grades in sheets and reels for all new orders.

The same increase applies for its Speciality paper grades for thermal, carbonless, labels and flexible packaging

The continental paper maker said its cost structure had suffered a significant and unsustainable hit, and the increases had to be passed on.

“This price increase is essential in order to offset the exceptional increase in raw materials driven by the soaring price of gas, electricity and chemical costs,” Lecta stated. 

The firm also said that new quotations will be “subject to the addition of surcharges due to the uncontrollable and unforeseeable increasing prices of gas and electricity”.

Lecta said the surcharges will be subject to review each month “in accordance with the relevant energy prices of the immediately prior month”.

The Navigator Company is increasing prices in all markets by 8%, with an additional €50/tonne surcharge due to the “unprecedented increase in all relevant production cost factors”.

The new pricing is effective from 1 November, with Navigator stating that prices would be subject to change with a shorter notice period than normal, “considering the volatility of the current energy, commodities and logistic market conditions”.

“The paper trade world has gone mad,” commented one merchant, while a print boss said the situation had resulted in “probably one of the most difficult periods I’ve known in 20 years. We’ve seen increases before but nothing like this – it’s not just paper, it’s everything.”

There is speculation that Mondi is considering a €200/tonne surcharge, the equivalent of £170/tonne, but this has not been confirmed. 

A Mondi spokesperson told Printweek: “Throughout the year, we saw significantly higher input costs in our uncoated fine paper business such as higher pulp, energy, transport and chemical costs. Therefore, we have been implementing various price increases of our papers during the year.”

UPM Communication Papers has also informed customers that the price rises that it announced last month will need to go up by “at least €50/tonne” from the beginning of next year. 

Print buyers had already been warned about paper availability issues, with some mills effectively sold out until the end of the year.