04/30/01 –

By: Staff Reports


News From the Past Week

Monday, April 30, 2001


Newsprint Consumption Declines

from this week’s Editor & Publisher magazine. To
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by Jim Rosenberg

As winter ended and declines in newsprint consumption deepened,
publishers’ stocks mounted and more mills turned to downtime to
bring supplies in-line with spring demand.

U.S. dailies consumed 682,000 metric tons of newsprint in
February, 8.7% less than a year earlier, according to revised
figures from the Newspaper Association of America. Preliminary
March numbers show a 9.7% decline to 727,000 tons from 805,000
one year ago.

End-of-month publishers’ newsprint inventories totaled 1,119,000
tons – a 49-day supply and a 16.3% increase over the 962,000
tons (37 days) in February 2000. Projections for March show
stocks rising 17%, to 1,113,000 from 951,000 tons.

Joining the production reductions of North America’s biggest
newsprint makers, Norske Skog, Oxen¿en Bruk, Norway, last week
responded “to softening economic conditions” by curtailing
“global production of standard newsprint by 10% over the next 60
days.” It will cut back production, it said, in anticipation of
reduced demand from the Americas and Asia – where the
downtime comes on top of that previously announced by South
Korea’s Pan Asia Paper Co., co-owned by the local Hansol Paper
Co., Norske Skog, and Montreal-based Abitibi-Consolidated.

The paper giant’s majority-owned Norske Skog Canada two weeks
earlier announced plans to cut newsprint production by 22,000
metric tons over nine days in May and June, owing to weakened
exports to Asia and South America. North American demand held up
well in the first quarter, but the Vancouver, British Columbia-
based company predicts softness “as the U.S. economy weakens.”
President and CEO Russ Horner said Norske Skog Canada’s “paper
inventory levels are currently at historically low levels, and we
intend to maintain them in that range.”

Jim Rosenberg (tech@editorandpublisher.com) is a senior editor covering newspaper technology
for E&P.

Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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