Why paper has become a scarce commodity
About 80% of paper products, including offset paper for printing books and brochures, as well as label paper and cardboard for packaging, are imported from Russia, Senators explains. According to him, the main suppliers of these goods to Russia used to be China and European countries. At the same time, Russia has 25% of the world’s forest resources, which should ensure domestic demand for pulp and paper products, note in SPPI GIPP.
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One of the leaders among the producers of pulp and paper products, Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill, will close two paper machines from June 1, 2021, a company representative said. Now the Arkhangelsk Pulp and Paper Mill is betting on deep processing of its products at the enterprises for the production of corrugated packaging and sanitary and hygienic products, the company told RBC. The decision was made because the market for writing paper and notebooks, which are being replaced by electronic media, is shrinking in the world, the plant’s press service explained.
RBC sent a request to other major producers of pulp and paper products in Russia – Ilim Group and International Paper.
During the coronavirus and mass lockdown pandemic, many foreign factories temporarily stopped or cut paper production, and when restrictions were lifted, began selling their goods to the domestic market, where demand increased, Senators said.
In addition, the supply chain was disrupted during the pandemic: due to sanitary and epidemiological measures, importers now spend more time passing goods through customs, more time is spent, for example, on sanitation of trains, adds Senators. At the end of 2020, prices rose sea transportation: the price for one container has grown from $ 1.5 thousand up to $ 9 thousand, reminds the interlocutor of RBC. There is an acute shortage of containers and ships from China, summarizes the Senators.
According to the senators, the volumes of production of paper products that domestic companies have are not enough to meet the demand in the conditions of import restrictions. Russian manufacturers themselves are still explaining to publishers the shortage of paper by the sharply increased demand and shortage of components, the press service of Exmo-AST clarifies.
Another reason for the shortage – a number of large manufacturers have shifted from the production of offset paper to the production of packaging, according to the press service of “Enlightenment”. Raw materials for packaging production is becoming more expensive worldwide, followed by rising prices: due to the pandemic, the volume of online purchases in January 2021 alone has almost doubled, to 211 billion rubles, according to the Association of Internet Trade Companies, this has increased demand for delivery, and the consumption of packaging showed “uncharacteristic dynamics.”
China, which used to supply offset paper to Russia, has now, on the contrary, increased its purchases from Russia, according to Exmo-AST. In China itself have grown prices for pulp from which paper products are made: from December 2020 to February 2021 by more than 30%.
How paper shortages will affect book prices
For Russian publishers, a ton of offset paper in early 2021 rose by an average of 7% to 81.3 thousand. rubles, said Shitikova. This figure is confirmed by RBC’s source in the book market. According to him, the price of offset paper depends on the supplier: if in March 2020 the price ranged from 68.5 thousand. up to 70 thousand руб. per ton, in March 2021 – from 76 thousand. up to 82 thousand руб. According to Shitikova’s forecast, in 2021 books will rise in price by an average of 10% due to the shortage and increase in the price of paper.
If the situation with the shortage of paper on the Russian market does not stabilize, it will have to be purchased from Finnish manufacturers – then the production of books will rise and, accordingly, their retail price will increase, agrees Oleg Novikov. The cost of books may increase by 20% because of this, says the president of “Exmo-AST”.
The Enlightenment claims that so far “competent planning of the circulation of circulations allows to partially cope with the situation.”
Publishers in 2020 already were forced reduce the circulation of books and brochures due to the coronavirus pandemic. Lockdown, during which bookstores were closed, also affected retail demand: sales did not grow even in August, which is traditionally considered the high season in the book market. As a result, 351.4 million copies of books and brochures were issued by the end of the year, which is 20% less than in 2019.