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It is not often that the pulp and paper industry merits a mention in the mainstream financial press, but two articles already this year in the FT and the Economist serve to remind us what a bumper year the hardwood sector enjoyed in 2015. It is often useful to hear an outside opinion in order to maintain perspective, and I would encourage any battle-weary BEKP seller to read these articles. The Economist article dated 26 March neatly summarises most of the themes we have been discussing for the past year or so, and presents a particularly sanguine view.
Having said this, the chart entitled "placid pulp" dates the article somewhat given the recent collapse in prices. Certainly the modest undulations of the previous cycle (2013-2015) lent credence to the theory that the increased concentration of supply in Latin America had consigned volatility to the history books. However, the $140/t collapse in BEKP prices over the past four months serves as a reminder that many factors remain beyond producers' control. Some may have forgotten how trading pulp in such a down-cycle can be like trying to catch a falling knife.
Only after the next 12 months or so will we learn just how valid many of the others assertions regarding the long term health of the market really are.
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