OPA condemns frequent paper price hike

The Offset Printers Association (OPA) has condemned the sharp rise in the prices of raw material, especially paper, plates and chemicals. According to the organisation, the unprecedented escalation of price of paper by the paper mills has proven to be a major hurdle, while consumables industries are not willing to pass on the cost, making the printing business unviable.

09 Mar 2022 | By Rahul Kumar

Members of the association during the meeting

The members of the association condemned the frequent increase in the prices of kraft paper and other raw material during the ‘churning meeting’ of the OPA held in Himachal Pradesh recently.

Speaking on the occasion, Gagandeep Singh, vice-president, OPA, said, the prices of all types of paper in India have been increased since 1 March, upsetting the user industry.

Rohan Oberai, PRO of OPA, added that the corrugated box manufacturers are the worst affected in view of the frequent price hikes. “From 1 March, prices of coated and uncoated papers have been increased by USD 20 (Rs 1,456) a tonne. The user industry has been told that prices would be raised further by USD 20 each at least four more times this month. The printing and packaging industry, mainly the corrugated manufacturers, is worried as the economy is just recovering from the pandemic impact,” he said.

According to Kamal Chopra, general secretary, OPA, as far as the demand is concerned, the demand for paper, except office paper, has already reached the pre-Covid level. The demand was low in the office space segment but it improved this quarter, and reached almost the pre-Covid level in September 2021.

“I feel that the reduced volumes will be coming back in the coming quarters and there will be further growth. The economy is opening up gradually. The restrictions have ended and offices are opening up. Therefore, demand is coming back. The demand will increase further in the future, as its growth drivers are intact,” he said.

He added that the packaging sector has grown by 10-15% and the growth will continue. “I feel the demand will increase for every kind of paper. Apart from Covid-related challenges, the printing industry is facing the twin blows of continuous price hikes in paper, plates, chemicals, ink and other raw material and substantial rise in input cost,” he said, adding, “It is not possible to withstand such an increase. As a result, the cost of printed products is bound to increase at least by 18 to 25% by the next couple of days.”

The Offset Printers Association said it has geared up to help the members of the association to fight the increase in raw material on a daily basis, The members present at the two-day meeting discussed how the prices of raw material have increased more than double in just six months. Further emphasis was laid on educating the members of the association to control the cost of production. They were also told that importance should be given as to how raw materials can be purchased cheaper without compromising on quality of the final product.

The association will further help the printing by providing a daily price update of raw materials, such as duplex board, inks and chemicals. Also, the members were motivated to purchase raw materials collectively so that it can be purchased cheaply.