Total containerboard inventories at box plants and mills jumped by 146,600 tons to 2.48 million ton at the end of August from 2.33 million tons the prior month. This compares to an average decrease for August over the past decade of 21,000 tons-in a "third straight monthly inventory blowout," according to Chip Dillon of Vertical Research Partners.
At 2.48 million tons, inventories are at their "highest for August in eight years (or since 2.553 million tons in August 2005)," he noted. Weeks of supply a 4.3 weeks were also at their highest level since August 2005.
Since June total containerboard and box plant inventories jumped by 338,000 tons (16%)-"nearly nine times the average 39,000 ton increase seen for these three months over the previous 10 years," Dillon noted.
US corrugated box shipments in August totaled 31.74 billion ft2, down 3.4% from a year ago on an actual basis, but up 1.0% average-week (adjusted one less day in the latest month), FBA reported.
Year-to-date box shipments were down 0.4% actual and up 0.8% from the first eight months of 2012.
Containerboard mills ran at 99.6% of capacity in August, up from 98.6% in July and a year-to-date average of 96.9%, according to the American Forest & Paper Assn. Year-to-date mills operated at 96.9%.