A4 imports – the ONLY place colour matters

  • Huge spike in A4 Tinted imports is clear misclassification
  • Average import price plunged to the price of the cheaper A4 White grade
  • One chart tells the total story

Australia’s imports of A4 White Cut Reams (copy paper) have reduced dramatically over the last two years. In fact, over the year-ended April 2019, imports totalled just over 22,000 tonnes, down more than 51% on the prior year! Imports of their sibling ‘tinted’ grade have always been far smaller, hovering somewhere around the 2,000 tonne per year mark.

In April 2019, that changed when imports of A4 Tinted exploded to an unlikely and remarkable 1,013 tonnes. Half a year’s supply – almost all of which came from one supplier country.

This volume is A4 White, misclassified, and the prices demonstrate that. As a result of the massive lift in imports, the average price of A4 Tinted fell from an average of AUDFob2,025/t over the year-ended March, to average AUDFob1,257/t.

The average price of A4 White in April 2019 was AUDFob1,273/t, or just AUD16/t different to that recorded for the tints.

This is displayed with absolute clarity in the chart below.

Australian Imports of A4 Cut Reams: White v Tinted: May ’17 – Apr ’19 (tpm & AUDFob/t)

Source: ABS

Because the A4 White grade is subject to extensive anti-dumping duties, the situation is not as insignificant as the simple misclassification might suggest. This is a ‘market situation’.

However, we will not publish the ‘country-of-origin’ chart in this case because we are certain, from discussions in the industry, that this represents a simple import declaration error and one we anticipate will be rectified.

Subscribers to IndustryEdge’s monthly trade data series are able to examine the data at their leisure.

This item was first published in the June 2019 edition of Pulp & Paper Edge (Edition 165).

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