Do you have school or college kids at home? Then you’ll have to pay more for notebooks from this month, while textbooks could also be more expensive as private paper-making companies have hiked prices.
Paper makers such as Andhra Paper and Century Pulp & Paper have raised the prices of writing and printing paper, depending on their qualities, from ₹1,000 to ₹3,000 per ton effective today .
A manufacturer, in its communication to traders, said the rise was due to an increase in input costs, particularly in energy, fuel oil, chemicals and packaging expenses due to geopolitical and logistical problems. .
Another manufacturer said: “Prices of key raw materials like pulp, chemicals, coal, fuel oil and freight rates (including inland and across oceans) have soared skyrocketing at rates not seen in a decade or more.”
Prices for crude oil, chemicals and coal, in addition to freight rates, have increased due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The war in Ukraine also caused logistical problems. Since war broke out on Feb. 24, crude oil prices have surged above $100 a barrel, leading to a host of problems, including runaway inflation.
Currently, Brent crude is ruling at $116 a tonne, with European Union plans to cut Russian oil supply by the end of the year further fueling the energy product.
Start of the school season
“The hike comes exactly when the school season has started. Manufacturers are visualizing increased demand and want to take advantage of it,” said a Kolkata-based industry analyst, who did not wish to be identified.
The season should have actually started in February-March but due to the impact of the Covid pandemic, academic institutions are only starting now. “Exercise and textbooks will likely be more expensive,” the analyst said.
Although the National Education Policy (NEP) is in place from this year, textbooks have yet to be published. Usually the government purchases papers for textbooks around March, but this time it was delayed due to the introduction of NEP.
2nd hike in 2 months
“The Center also distributes books under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. But he hasn’t bought any paper this year and it’s likely that program funds could be used for lunches and the like rather than book distribution. The Center could encourage the reading of books electronically,” he said.
This is the second hike in about two months. On March 23, papermakers had raised stationery prices to ₹100 per kg plus GST for supply from the second week of May.
Then the manufacturers pointed to a “massive increase in the cost of all grades of raw materials” for the upside. Printing and writing paper prices doubled from ₹50 to ₹55 per kg before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.
The analyst said that with the Center’s release of a Paper Import Monitoring System (PIMS) from October 1 this year, shipments into the country will be monitored and will help paper manufacturers.
In the order issued on May 25, the General Directorate of Foreign Trade said importers must submit advance information in an online system for imports and obtain an automatic registration number. Information must be submitted within 75 days and before five days of shipment arrival.
The registration should include information about the Bill of Lading and India Quality Board details. PIMS is introduced after the domestic paper industry alleged the dumping of paper products into the country from overseas.
The analyst said that despite the allegations, India had become a net exporter of paper, board and newsprint in the past two fiscal years for the first time since independence. According to the Indian Paper Manufacturers Association, exports were 2.86 million tonnes last fiscal year against imports of 1.75 million tonnes.
June 01, 2022