Recovered paper consumption in 2011 fell 5 percent from the previous year, according to the American Forest & Paper Association.
Paper inventories rose to their highest level for 2011 in December, increasing the number of days of supply by one day to 12. However, inventories still fell short of the 922,000 tons of ending stocks for December 2010, the AF&PA said in a news release.
For December, total U.S. industry consumption of recovered paper dropped 7.5 percent from a year ago and slipped 3 percent from November 2011 at 2.3 million tons. Decreases compared to November occurred with most grades except pulp substitutes and high grade deinking, which recorded small gains. Those gains, however, did not offset the larger declines in mixed paper, newspapers and corrugated.
U.S. exports of recovered paper fell 6 percent in November, marking the lowest export volume in 2011 since February. Year-to-date exports in 2011 are still 13 percent higher than last year by volume.
Import tons were flat in November, with year-to-date volumes 29 percent ahead of 2010.
AF&PA said that during the next few months it will conduct a comprehensive audit of U.S. recovered paper consumption. The final figures for 2011 will be released shortly after organization’s 52nd Capacity Survey.