The rise and rise of paper price

Printers and print buyers have been hit hard by a new wave of paper price rises and surcharges, amid speculation that paper makers could be considering a surcharge as high as USD200/tonne.

27 Oct 2021 | By Noel D'Cunha

Price rise may see two out of five print establishments shut shop

“In most cases this has become a good excuse for profiteering,” commented one book print firm CEO in Sivakasi while a print boss in Gujarat said the situation had resulted in “probably one of the most difficult periods I’ve known in the past two decades. We’ve seen increases before but nothing like this – it’s not just paper, it’s everything.”

The BILT Art Paper (130gsm) rate per kilogram is Rs.96.5/- + GST + transport (approx. Rs. 110 inclusive all). Two suppliers who PrintWeek spoke to said, "It is a major crisis. The mill has 25 days of coal in stock to run the machine." The mill machine depends on the supply of coal. .

Paper mills across India have stopped taking new orders. As a result, there is "an acute shortage of paper in the market."

PrintWeek contacted many suppliers but neither were they willing to comment nor share the cost.

A paper industry expert said,"I am sorry to say that for ages, my allegation against the paper industry in India has been this. That whenever the industry got an opportunity to raise prices, they would go over the top and do so. The paper industry did this without a care in the world. They forgot that only a few months ago they were lobbying with the government agencies seeking anti dumping duty on Chinese paper imports." Another paper industry speculator said, "For the paper industry, the print and packaging industries hardly matter."

Meanwhile print buyers had already been warned about paper availability issues, with some mills effectively sold out until the end of the year. This has been a huge spoilsport for what was expected to be a profitable festival season.

A print buyer said, "Today, every paise is being passed onto the customers. Therefore these customers are switching over to the digital media. You are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Then you complain that the world is moving to digital."

A print association head in Mumbai said to PrintWeek, "It is a bloodbath on the streets. Even the best in the commercial space are going to taste the dust. The next 3-4 months are going to wipe a lot of us off."

PrintWeek market survey in the post-Covid world had suggested "one out of five commercial print establishments will shut down shutters." But a commercial print boss said, "It will be two of five. And the next 20% will be highly leveraged. Only 40% of the healthy ones will survive in the commercial space."

Also read: 
Clerical goof up causes more pain for print
Has print-land been checkmated by rising costs? - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column
Coal shortage shutdown five paper mills in Vapi
Paper prices keep going up