March 2018 Update
Linerboard prices increased in North America in March but we are assessing a smaller increase for recycled linerboard than for virgin. Recycled paper input prices have been soft and therefore the price gap between virgin and recycled containerboard is growing.
Several containerboard producers have recently issued price increase notifications of 8% on boxes and 10% on sheets. Generally it is more difficult to achieve non-indexed price increases in the market and there is a lag time on downstream packaging products.
Mill operating rates declined in January and February versus 2017 levels.
Containerboard prices were stable in Europe and Asia during March but there are new price initiatives in play in both markets.
2018 Packaging Material Cost Forecast Update Highlights for Containers
Our 2018 Forecast was completed in June in time for budgeting for 2018. At that time we had projected a third increase will partially succeed in Q4 2017 or Q1 2018. This has now been confirmed.