McEntee Media is a publisher of internationally circulated trade
periodicals specializing in the paper recycling and composting
businesses. The Write Company division is a media relations department for small businesses. We do press releases, media liaison, marketing and advertising copy, brochures and sales pieces, sales and proposal letters, newsletter design and printing. We also write magazine articles for hire.
Ken McEntee has worked in the media since 1984, starting as a reporter at the Lorain Journal, Lorain, Ohio, where he won four first place awards for investigative reporting and community service reporting. While working as an editor in the trade press for GIE Publishing, Ken and his brother Ron established The Weekly Farce, a satirical newspaper based in Cleveland, and Active Voice, a newspaper dedicated to free expression unhindered by media landlords.
Ken established McEntee Media Corporation in 1990, publishing one periodical. After expanding the company to four publications by 1995, the company diversified to offer business writing and public relations services through The Write Company division.
Among The Write Company's clients are Mimi Vanderhaven's Fabulous Buys, Southwest General Health Center/UH, Masco Cabinetry/KraftMaid, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, ScrapRunner and Image Builders Marketing.
on October 14 confirmed that Georgia Pacific is dropping its price of
non-contract sorted office paper (SOP) and coated book stock (CBS) to
$150 a ton effective on October 17 for its Eastern and Midwestern mills.
Information was unclear whether that price also would include mills
that draw from the west, such as the Muskogee, Okla. mill.
price, which no other company has reportedly matched as of October 14,
represents a decrease of more than $100 a ton for SOP in less than a
That free fall in prices trivialized a $30 to $50 per ton
drop in SOP prices reportedly being paid in the Northeast U.S. and
Eastern Canada – a decline that otherwise would have been described as
“The Canadian mills are still paying in the $220 to $230 range,” said one broker.
Meanwhile, traders speculated on how much lower SOP prices might go as early as next week.
Prices at the Green Bay mill dropped from $250 in September to $200 on October 1 to $150 in mid-October..
Georgia Pacific is paying $150 for prime material, there is no telling
where Fibrek and Kimberly Clark are going to be for the lower quality of
fiber they buy,” said one. “I see this as a very strong statement about
the state of the market. I anticipate a continuing erosion of pricing.”
timing of Georgia Pacific’s announcement sets up an interesting pricing
sheet in this issue of The Paper Stock Report. As of the close of
business on October 14, sources said Canadian producers Cascades and
Kruger had not yet responded to GP’s drop. But they anticipated a
nationwide free fall in SOP prices during the week of October 17. As
this issue stands, Eastern mill prices are still listed at $200 to $220,
while other Southeast and Midwest prices reflect the $15o price being
paid by GP mills.
Traders said domestic mills that use SOP and CBS are loaded with inventory, while export demand also is lackluster.
and SOP are very ugly,” said an East Coast broker before the word
spread about GP’s price drop. “Coated book is at 200 or well under.
South America has been out of the market for the last three months. SOP
at the NY pier was $230 on October 1 and it is down to $210 today.”
drop in prices of sorted white ledger (SWL), so far, have not been as
dramatic as SOP. One reason, sources said, is that there is not a lot of
SWL available on the market.
“I had a hard time putting five loads together this week,” one broker reported.
At the same time, though, large Southern consumers like International Paper and Boise reportedly were turning the grade away.
with a huge price difference between SOP and SWL, packers are expected
to start sorting more ledgers out of their office paper.
may be a small window of time for that strategy to work, but in a sort
time you can expect ledger prices to drop in line with the other white
grades, traders said. Along with drops in deinking grades, pulp
substitutes also continued to weaken this month in line with wood pulp
According to a broker in the Northwest, Waste Management
and GP Harmon Recycling, which have indexed contracts with large
document destruction companies, stand to take huge hits on SOP.
“They are paying $270 a ton for paper and selling into Mexico for $210,” the broker said.
GP’s announcement, traders noted a “chaotic” market, but many described
is as a large market correction and no reason to panic. Afterward, all
bets were off.
“In the long term, we’re still in a fiber-short
world,” said one broker. “Demand will continue to outstrip supply. My
suppliers are in shock right now, but I think were going to find a
balance in the next few weeks. Last time I checked people were still
using toilet paper.”
Another broker questioned low prices would actually go.
“Mills understand that they need a supply network,” he said. “It is not good to shock the market.”
With SOP making the biggest news, the fall of old corrugated has almost gone unnoticed.
worm has turned on OCC,” said an east Coast broker. “I’m not sure why.
All of my suppliers are busier with OCC than they have been in a while.
Although none of the mills seem to be in the market to buy extra
tonnage, the market is not horrifyingly out of balance. I just visited
10 to 15 suppliers and nobody was backed up with OCC.”
Regardless, domestic and Chinese mills have stopped buying and some traders were bracing for a price tumble.
to one source, International Paper’s Cedar Rapids mill in Iowa has told
its suppliers to sell its tonnage off elsewhere through the end of
November. If you have to ship OCC to the mill in November, you’ll get
$100 a ton, the source said.
On the export market, Ralison
International, which buys for China’s Lee and Man Paper, reportedly has
told suppliers not to ship any more tonnage this month.
to one broker, American Chung Nam, which supplies China’s giant Nine
Dragons Paper, is issuing purchase order with the price “to be
“You can ship, but the containers will be on the water before you know what you’re getting paid,” he said.
An East Coast exporter described the OCC market as “unglued.”
said some of the market weakness predated China’s annual National Day
holiday that starts on October 1. But there was some panic when buyers
returned to the office after a week off.
“It’s not something that
suppliers shouldn’t anticipate,” said one broker. “But there is anxiety
when you’re trying to call your customers and they are not answering
the phone. Then when the buyer gets back to the office he is bombarded
with 15 people panicking to reach him on the phone. I don’t blame the
buyers for wanting to step back and take a breath.”
holiday week, U.S. OCC was reportedly moving to China from Los Angeles
for $271 per metric tonne, delivered to major Chinese ports. After the
holiday prices were around $242. Exporters at mid month were paying
suppliers about $210 per ton FAS in Los Angeles and around $190 in
Seattle, traders reported.
“The Chinese buyers aren’t really
aren’t saying very much right now,” said one broker. “And some of them
are not placing orders or releasing prices.”
According to an East Coast broker, “America Chung Nam is staying out of the market as an attempt to bring prices down.”
Domestically, traders said, board mills are generally sticking to contracts and taking virtually nothing else.
is a lot of downtime in China and the price of OCC was too high for too
long,” said a West Coast broker. “Now mills are waiting for prices to
come down. The mills we’re selling to figure that if the CIF price is
$240 today, if they wait a week it will be down to $215 maybe. The CIF
price has fallen $35 a ton since the end of September.”
Traders noted the Chinese government’s tighter control of credit as another factor in reducing containerboard demand.
is a box shop going to buy from a linerboard mill when they can’t get
the credit?” asked one exporter. “Inflation in China is a lot higher
than the government is reporting. Normal people with college degrees
can’t afford the basic necessities. Nine Dragons has a huge debt to
equity ratio. That’s bad. After all that expansion the mills are running
Import licensing also has been cited as a factor to
watch over the next two months. Chinese mills need to apply for licenses
to import recovered paper for 2012. Under current licenses, tonnage
needs to arrive before December 20, one exporter said.
no doubt the big players like Nine Dragons, Lee and Man and Asian Pulp
and Paper are going to get their licenses,” he said. “But the government
is really cracking down on the smaller guys.”
Some traders say
that while OCC prices are dropping now, Chinese mills will want to be
sure to get orders received by December 20.
That’s one reason why U.S. scrap paper exports generally see an upward bump in volume between October and December.
always very strong in the fourth quarter,” one export says. “Normally
the Chinese buyers know that prices are down from the summer and they
come in pretty strong.”
That’s what one brokerage is expecting.
betting that by November the OCC price is going to start back up due to
increased export demand,” said an exporter there. “I am looking for
bump up in the beginning of November, then some downward movement for
the next several months.
Nine Dragons threw another fly into the
ointment last month with the announcement that the start-up of six new
paper machines has the delayed. Nine Dragons brought on substantial new
capacity this year, bringing the company’s total capacity to 11.5
million tons per year. The six new machines, which were scheduled to
start up this year, would have added about 2.4 million tons of new