Market, paper prices and availability

The seismic shudders that have been rumbling through the paper industry for the past five years are showing signs of quelling. The quarterly round of pulp price rises has slowed, panic buying and stockpiling seem to have stopped and papermakers have a much greater air of calm about them.

This is good news for designers – it means you’re much more likely to find that this week’s paper quote is the same as last week’s, and be sure that it can be delivered to the printer on time.

“During the past 12 months we really have seen a return of growing confidence,” says Tom Jansz of Robert Horne. “A couple of years ago choices were made almost entirely on the basis of price, but in recent months there has been a distinct change and a shift upwards – there is a lot more work being produced on higher quality papers. I think companies are feeling more confident and are more willing to spend on papers to differentiate their corporate literature from others.”

The news on prices in the report and accounts field is mostly good. Because this is a premium product zone, these stocks have seen less price fluctuation than basic products, like copier paper, as a result of the pulp wars. The market has also seen the arrival of a number of excellent quality mid-price products which, along with offering useful options, has also acted as a restrainer on the top-of-the-range product prices.

On paper and board choices, Janey Hunter of Curtis Fine Papers says: “With slimmer budgets preventing companies from being too lavish, and with many having a strong environmental stance, we are seeing the specification of lighter papers and environmentally driven grades. We’re also seeing a wider variety of papers used in report and accounts work to highlight the different sections such as corporate information, financials and, increasingly, environmental reporting.”

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