Global shortage drives up the price of paper




The shortage of raw materials is transversal, affects all sectors of the economy and, in some, already calls into question their recovery, after a year and a half hit by the Covid-19. Because semiconductors, construction materials, metals … and now paper too! in a world situation that is already putting great strain on the supply chain in Spain.

This is especially noticeable in the publishing business, to which the lack of paper puts the new editions in check a little month and a half before Christmas, one of its peak billing periods. As in the rest of the economic fabric, the sector faces the whirlwind of demand that has brought the reactivation of consumption and many publishers already assume that they might face delays on some of their book deliveries.

A luck that is also charged in a bulky rise in prices. According to sources from the sector explain to this newspaper, the spectacular increase in demand has made the three main supply bases of paper raisin located in the Scandinavian Peninsula, Finland and Canada (British Columbia) prices have skyrocketed by up to 30% during the last six months, with a delay in fulfilling orders that currently reaches 45 days on average.

Not only on the paper itself, but also on some derivatives such as cardboard, “especially that intended for books and agendas with hardcover covers,” he explains to ABC, the president of the Madrid Publishers Association, Manuel González. «The problem lies in an accelerated increase in online orders which, as they are channeled into small individual packages packed in cardboard, which has also led to a greater demand for this product which, although not only affects packaging and book covers, has led to this sector both the rise in prices and the delay in the supply in the same magnitudes of printed paper, ”says the leader of the organization, who estimates price increases in books of around 3% in the first half of 2022. And that’s thanks to the stockpiling of paper that companies have done in view of the supply crisis.

The publishers also attribute these price increases to the increased cost of the electricity, which is leading to higher production costs for printers and binderies, which has been narrowing profitability margins.


A situation to which la price escalation in maritime freight and its consequent supply delays that already delay growth prospects for the second half of 2021 and for the first half of 2022 in the publishing business. Despite this, González assures that they should not be triggers for a new long-term crisis “because it is something temporary.”

In any case, the wound will be deeper in small publishers than in large ones, due to the greater negotiation capacity and the characteristics of its contracts with suppliers of the latter. «The large publishing groups have minimized their impact thanks to the fact that their purchasing system for these materials is based on contracts agreed prior to this crisis and that guarantees them prices and supplies in much more competitive conditions, while the small publishers, who attend to its suppliers with more modest order books in quantities and terms, they are adjusting their editorial plans for 2022 so that the most attractive bets in their catalogs will be made on the novelties with the largest circulation in copies, which lowers the unit cost “, explain the editors of Madrid.

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