Industrial action in Finnish paper mills extended until April, meaning the UK may only have about 6-weeks of copier paper left.
Price rises for paper are on the horizon, as raw materials (pulp, chemicals), fuel and energy, and transportation costs are all rising at alarming rates. There is also a shortage of inventory and stock, mainly due to industrial action taken in Finland by one of the world's leading paper manufacturers and capacity reduction due to permanent mill closures following covid-19. In fact, one supplier has warned us that UK stocks of copier paper may only last 6-weeks - so order now while you still can.
Many of our suppliers have notified us of the current European paper market difficulties.Previously, their primary concern with paper suppliers, manufacturers and merchants has been solely around costs. However, this has now swung towards quotas and availability due to several factors.
Because Europe is a net importer of paper, increased oil and coal prices have added to the cost of freight, and this doesn't show any signs of falling in the short term. Plus, global demand fell by 14% over the past couple of years and UK demand by 33%, as countries locked down. Now that economies have reopened and industry attempts to recompense for lost time, demand has increased significantly.
However, capacity has fallen by 21% over the same period, so it's difficult for mills to balance the upsurge in demand with production quite so fast. Furthermore, even if they did manage to increase capacity, it would take three years just to start seeing changes on suppliers' price lists. By then, things will have changed again; we could see double-digit rises across all sectors within just two years.