AF&PA Releases August 2019 Reports

Market analysis


Containerboard production in August 2019 decreased 2.4 percent compared to August 2018 and was down 4.9 percent year-to-date. The average daily production compared to July 2019 was 3.2 percent higher.

The containerboard operating rate increased from 89.9 percent in July to 92.8 percent – the highest rate so far this year. The total linerboard rate increased to 91.6 percent, going above 90 percent for only the third time this year. Nevertheless, the August total operating rate was 4.6 points lower than the same month last year, and the year-to-date operating rate was down 6.3 points. Production for export, most of which is linerboard, was down 12.2 percent month-over-month and was down 17.7 percent year-to-date.


Total boxboard monthly production decreased 1.0 percent when compared to August 2018. The total boxboard operating rate was 94.1 percent for August. Total Solid Bleached Boxboard & Liner production decreased 0.4 percent year to date; Recycled Boxboard production fell 1.0 percent year to date; and Unbleached Kraft & Gypsum decreased 0.5 percent year to date.

Packaging Papers & Specialty Packaging

Total packaging papers shipments were down 10.1 percent from August 2018 and down 5.3 percent year-to-date. Bag and sack shipments were down 4.0 percent year-to-date, multiwall shipments were down 13.3 percent, food wrapping shipments were up 5.6 percent, and converting shipments were down 8.3 percent. The operating rate for August increased to 87.6 percent compared to 81.6 percent in July. Inventory levels increased 5.5 percent from July.

Printing-Writing Paper

According to the August 2019 Printing-Writing Monthly report from AF&PA, total printing-writing paper shipments decreased 14 percent in August compared to August 2018. U.S. purchases of total printing-writing papers declined 13 percent in August compared to the same month last year. Total printing-writing paper inventory levels remained essentially flat compared to July 2019.

  • U.S. shipments of coated mechanical (CM) paper decreased seven percent in August from the same month one year ago. The inventory level of CM papers increased eight percent in August compared to July. CM imports increased while exports declined in July 2019.
  • U.S. purchases of uncoated mechanical (UM) papers decreased 16 percent in August when compared to August 2018. Inventories decreased eight percent compared to last month. Imports and exports of UM papers in July 2019 both decreased year-over-year.
  • U.S. shipments of coated free sheet (CFS) papers decreased 18 percent year-over-year in August while U.S. purchases of uncoated free sheet (UFS) paper decreased 12 percent. Inventory levels at the end of August when compared to July decreased for both CFS and remained flat for UFS papers. In July, imports and exports of CFS both decreased and for UFS papers, both increased year-over-year.

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The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance a sustainable U.S. pulp, paper, packaging, and wood products manufacturing industry through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. AF&PA member companies make products essential for everyday life from renewable and recyclable resources and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry's sustainability initiative - Better Practices, Better Planet 2020. The forest products industry accounts for approximately 4 percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures about $210 billion in products annually, and employs nearly 900,000 men and women. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $50 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 47 states. Visit AF&PA online at or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.

Source: The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA)