Paper Prices in Egypt Shatter Records

Paper prices rose to about 1,200 Egyptian pounds in the local market at the beginning of September, bringing the average price of a ton of paper weighing 50/48 grams close to 28,000 pounds.

Amr Khader, head of the paper division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement that the new increase is the highest in the history of the paper sector in Egypt.

Khader pointed out that the local paper factories attributed the recent increase in prices of the final product to the high cost of production, in conjunction with the high cost of imported and local raw materials.

He said that Quena Paper Industry Company’s paper prices per ton weighing 50/48 grams have now risen to 27,900 pounds, 55/54 grams to 27,300 pounds, and 60/58 grams to 26,800 pounds.

In comparison the paper prices of Misr Edfu Paper Company weighing 50/48 grams was around 27,950 pounds, 55/54 grams was 27,400 pounds, and 60/58 grams were 26,900 pounds, per ton each.

Khader revealed that the price of imported paper rose by about 1,000 pounds per ton, to reach an average price of 35,000 pounds per ton in August. However he expects a decrease in the price of imported paper during the coming period. This is especially so with freight charges dropping by more than 30% with increased services from bigger vessels operating at lower prices, reducing the cost of imports following the decisions of the Ministry of Finance regarding customs release.

According to official sources the demand for paper has increased by more than 50% during the current period, especially with the start of the academic year. The high cost of paper is also expected to raise the cost of the end product, including textbooks, notebooks, brochures, and others.

Khader feels that printing presses and companies can cover the demand of the local market if the import process is facilitated in light of the shortage of local paper supply, calling for the need for the state to support the sector in order to prevent the closure of some printing presses and incurring losses.

The decrease in the supply of paper in the market as well as the difficulty in importing in recent times, and the obstacles to securing financing for importing some of the required items are some of the challenges faced by the industry.

Khader added that Egypt imports wood pulp from several countries, including the USA, Russia, Finland, and Sweden, stating that approximately 12,000 tons are brought annually for Misr Edfu Paper Company, to produce kraft paper of different weights.

The Egyptian market’s consumption of paper is around 500,000 tons annually. Of this about 200,000 tons of paper is produced locally by leading paper manufacturers like Quena and Misr Edfu, along with several other smaller manufacturers, while the rest is imported from abroad.

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