Price Increase For Toilet Paper As Pulp Costs Skyrocket

May 7, 2021

Once again the COVID virus strikes the asses of millions — a possible price sky-rocket for toiet paper. Maybe no shortage this time, just only the rich will be able to afford proper materials — opening a gap between the haves, and the have-nots.
Or black-market shit paper:

Shit-paper details from CNN this afternoon:

“We’ve never seen monthly price increases like this in the history of the business,” said Brian McClay, a pulp industry analyst.
“It’s unheard of.”
Prices for market pulp have jumped from $606 per metric ton in September to more than $907 per metric ton in April, McClay said.

A combination of factors has driven prices higher, including a post-Covid recovery in China, the biggest buyer of pulp in the world, and global shipping delays, he said.

Consumer manufacturers purchase pulp on the open market and then use it to make toilet paper and other tissue products.
Around 70-percent of the pulp that US consumer manufacturers buy for toilet paper comes from Brazil, McClay said, followed by around 30-percent from Canada.
Pulp is just the latest example of a raw-material shortage hitting the US economy as it recovers from shutdowns that disrupted supply chains and altered consumer behavior.
Lumber, steel, computer chips, chlorine, and even human labor is hard to find.

Consumer Brands Association, the trade group for consumer packaged goods’ manufacturers, said Thursday in a blog post that rising wood pulp prices are having an impact on toilet paper production costs.

Toilet paper prices for consumers have increased during the pandemic, and one leading toilet paper manufacturer said it’s raising the prices it charges retailers for Scott in part because of higher pulp costs.
Toilet paper prices increased 15.6-percent during the 52 weeks ending May 1 compared to the year prior, according to the latest numbers from NielsenIQ, which tracks point of sale data from retailers.

Kimberly Clark (KMB), the maker of Scott toilet paper, plans to increase prices to retailers on Scott and its other brands by mid-to-high single-digit percentages next month.
The increases “are necessary to help offset significant commodity cost inflation,” Kimberly-Clark said.
“Selling prices of tissue products are influenced, in part, by the market price for pulp,” the company said in its latest securities’ filing.

In a related venue, the lumber industry is going nuts with processed wood for building about everything going scarce and jacking-up prices — via Vox this week (h/t LGM)::

Prices have, in turn, skyrocketed. For years, the price of 1,000 board feet of lumber has generally traded in the $200 to $400 range.
It’s now well above $1,000. (One board foot is 12x12x1 inches, and the average new single-family home takes about 16,000 board feet of lumber to construct.)
A new house that would have cost $10,000 in wood to get off the ground a couple of years ago now costs $40,000 worth of wood — assuming, that is, you can even get your hands on the lumber.

Most people in the sector expected that Covid-19 would induce an industry-wide slowdown, not an industry-wide boom. Many were caught flat-footed.

“Not only has it surprised me, it’s just surprised the whole industry, how quickly we came roaring back. Housing and construction, repair and remodel, that’s where so much money was pointed by American consumers that the sheer scale of demand was hard to fathom,” Stinson Dean, CEO of Deacon Lumber, a lumber trading company based in Missouri, told me.

COVID shifted the emphasis:

Beyond a 2018 blip, the lumber industry hasn’t exactly been thriving lately. “Everybody’s hot and heavy about this business we’re in, and to us, it’s kind of funny, because this is a generational run,” said Chip Setzer, director of trading and growth at Mickey, a commodities trading platform. “I would venture to guess there’s nobody alive that has ever seen what we’re going through right now.”

When the pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, many people in the lumber industry assumed business was about to go sour. Millions of people were out of work, businesses across the country were shuttered, and the country was in a recession. And so, producers reacted accordingly.

“They really dialed back, thinking that demand would fall, and the reality is that demand never slowed,” said Dustin Jalbert, senior economist and lumber industry specialist at Fastmarkets RISI.

Instead, things sped up. People stuck at home because of Covid-19 shutdowns across the country decided it was a good time to take on home improvement projects repairing and remodeling their homes — they put up fences, added on decks, built out offices, refinished basements.
The DIY trend helped drive stellar sales numbers at stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Another lop-sided side-effect of the pandemic. Although shit doesn’t need a virus to run short of paper.
A quick study from 46 years ago — a toilet-paper shortage in 1973 (though, I was then a student at the University of Florida, there’s no recollection):

Johnny Carson, Dec.19, 1973: “There is an acute shotage of toilet paper in the good, old United States — we gotta quit writing on it.”

Shit, what next…

(Illustration: Pablo Picasso’s ‘The Weeping Woman [La Femme qui pleure],’ found here)

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