US box shipments strong for third month in November as containerboard inventories drop 82,000 tons

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US box shipments strong for third month in November as containerboard inventories drop 82,000 tons

December 16, 2014 - 00:50

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 16, 2014 (RISI) -US box shipments showed strength for a third consecutive month in November, while containerboard inventories at box plants and mills plunged by 82,000 tons, according to the latest industry statistics.

Box shipments declined by 1.8% on an actual basis in November to 27.914 billion ft2 but were up 3.6% on an average week basis, adjusted for one less day in the latest month which had only 18 shipping days, the Fibre Box Association (FBA reported).

Year-to-date box shipments were up 0.4% on an average-week basis compared with the first 11 months of 2013.

Containerboard inventories at box plants and mills dropped 82,000 tons in November to end the month at 2.249 million tons. Inventories historically have risen by an average of 9,000 tons for the month of November over the past five years and 14,000 tons over the last 10 years, according to analysts.

Weeks of supply dropped to 3.6 weeks at the end of November from 4.0 weeks in October and 3.9 weeks a year ago.

US containerboard mills throttled back and ran at 94.3% in November, down from 96.9% in October and a year-to-date average of 96.0%, according to AF&PA.

Strong export volume pulled up containerboard production for November. Total containerboard production of 2.88 million tons was up 5.9% a year ago and 1.4% year-to-date.

Linerboard production for export jumped 9.7% in November and was up 8.7% year-to-date, AF&PA reported.