Fastmarkets RISI Viewpoint: Pandemic demand boost for fluff pulp threatens to further tighten supply for softwood paper grade pulp

BURLINGTON, MA, May 15, 2020-

- By Patrick Cavanagh, Economist

While virus-related panic buying of toilet paper and other tissue products has occupied most headlines, demand for absorbent hygiene products (AHP) has experienced a similar uptick as consumers increase their at-home inventories of baby diapers, wipes and other disposable hygiene products. At hospitals and other institutional settings, fluff is also used in absorbent bed liners and disposable gowns. As tissue and AHP producers work to restock depleted retail supply chains, and consumers remain uneasy about the longevity of the COVID-19 pandemic, the positive effect on demand for BSK from these end use segments continues. The pandemic demand boost, however, is not the only factor at play contributing to the recent and unanticipated tightness for BSK grades. There have also been significant supply-side constraints on paper grade BSK that are at risk of ratcheting higher as the pandemic lingers and more swing capacity is devoted to fluff pulp.

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