In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, both testliner and fluting prices have showed mixed development of late. For the third month in a row, we received reports of increases, decreases, and stable prices for both our monitored grades.
The October price changes were relatively small. Increases were mostly noted in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), although some reports of unchanged or lower prices came in there as well. In the other GCC countries, the prices sent to us were largely stable or slightly down. Contacts attributed the upticks in containerboard prices to higher recovered paper costs and less competition from imports from outside the GCC, particularly India.
“For imported fluting and testliner, there must be a difference in the landed price of $20-30 per tonne to be interesting. If it’s only $5-10 per tonne, normally people don’t buy. It’s better to get your trucks every day, without stops. India and Europe are not attractive at the moment,” one buyer said.
Better demand but uncertain future ahead
Several – though not all – contacts said demand was better in October than September. There were also reports of a few mills in the region having taken some downtime in the past few months, some due to technical difficulties.
The violent conflict between Israel and Hamas has been ongoing for most of October and is closely monitored in the GCC countries. However, so far, none of our respondents said they had seen any direct impact of the hostilities on the GCC containerboard market, but many were uncertain about what the future might bring.
Although the prices reported to us featured increases and stability as well, the decreases still weighed somewhat more in October. After removing 10% of the highest and 10% of the lowest price points, in accordance with our published methodology, PIX Testliner GCC slipped lower by 1.64 dollars, or by 0.40%, and landed at 406.65 USD/t. PIX Fluting GCC inched down by a minimal 8 cents, or by 0.02%, and closed at 379.71 USD/t.
PIX indices covering the two main recycled fiber-based containerboard grades, produced in and delivered to the GCC, were launched in June 2023. The GCC countries include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.