Box shipments of 30.972 billion ft2 declined 4.2% on an actual basis but were up 0.3% average week (reflecting one less shipping day this May compared with a year ago), the Fibre Box Assn (FBA) reported.
Year-to-date US box shipments were down 1.2% on an actual basis and almost flat average week at down 0.2% from a year ago.
US containerboard inventories at box plants and mills declined 48,000 tons in May to 2.373 million tons. The decline was smaller than the average five-year decline for May of 84,000 tons and the ten-year decline for the month of 69,000 tons, noted Adam Josephson of KeyBanc.
"The absolute inventory level is 11% higher than the five-year May average (2.140 million tons) and 5% higher than the ten-year May average (2.267 million tons) and is the highest in any May since 2007," he noted.
Weeks of supply in May stood at 4.0 weeks compared with a ten-year average of 3.8 weeks and was the highest level for May since 2009, noted Chip Dillon of Vertical Research Partners.
US containerboard mills operated at a 96.9% rate in May, down from 97.3% from a year ago, American Forest & Paper Assn (AF&PA) reported. Year-to-date containerboard mills ran at 95.6% for the first five months, slightly below 96.4% a year ago.