The news on the “paper and pulp price pressures” continue to build toward substantial increases for 2010. We continue to see sharp increases in input costs for most mills, not only with pulp, but energy ( and this could be significant with some pending legislation ) wood, chemicals and transportation costs all trending up. Add to this that the “black liquor credits” all expired in 2010, which is the equivalent of a $ 100 per ton cost increase! IP, Franklin, Domtar and Plymouth together have announced permanent shutdowns of over 700 tons of uncoated freesheet capacity in North America alone in 2010! Additional imports may offset some of this capacity, but with the current issues with “mother nature” including weather and earthquakes as well as union strikes, will slow their importation. Pulp costs have risen 31% in the last year already….and that is eqivilent to $ 230 per ton in cost increases. Add to this possible pressure to close non-integrated paper mills in Europe and North American due to the rising costs of pulp, and we could be in for a long run of price increases, especially if demand stays strong or increases. Prepare for those increases now… it is no longer a matter of “if or when”….but “when, how much and how often”!